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Jonathan Cooper

Human Rights Barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, London

Jonathan Cooper is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers and he is an internationally recognised human rights specialist with experience before English and International courts and tribunals, as well as conducting training programmes and advising on human rights issues in jurisdictions all over the world. Jonathan was instrumental in training public authorities and lawyers in the UK on the implementation of the Human Rights Act 1998 and was responsible for devising and carrying out human rights training for various UK government departments, including the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). Jonathan has written extensively on human rights. He is co-General Editor of Halsbury’s Rights and Freedoms and he is the editor of one of the leading human right law journals, European Human Rights Law Review (Sweet & Maxwell). Jonathan devised and wrote the human rights and terrorism programme and manual for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). That manual, Countering Terrorism, Protecting Human Rights, was published in 2008. He has carried out counter-terrorism and human rights training programmes across Europe and Central Asia, including Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia and, regionally, for the Balkans as a whole. Jonathan has taught judges in Russia and Palestine. In 2007 he carried out a comprehensive human rights training programme for judges and prosecutors in the Turkish Military. He has also devised human rights training programmes for Sudanese government officials and also for lawyers in Syria, Cameroon, The Gambia and the Cayman Islands. Jonathan has been involved in a number of important human rights cases before the English courts, the European Court of Human Rights and other international courts and tribunals. These include the UK’s gays in the armed forces case, ex parte Smith & Grady. He has also represented a number of trans clients before the English and European Courts. Additional cases of note include, Weiss v Austria and NS v Secretary of State for the Home Office. The latter confirmed the application of the EU Charter in UK law. Jonathan has advised the MoJ, the Home Office and the Department for Service Prosecutions on complex human rights issues. He has also advised the Cayman Island authorities as well as those in Jersey. He advised the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre on human rights points in their successful bid to return Aboriginal remains from the Natural History Museum. Jonathan has also advised the Equality and Human Rights Committee on the impact of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights on the UK. Most recently, Jonathan has assisted LGBT people in countries which criminalise homosexuality to bring legal challenges. He has been involved in cases in Belize, Kenya, Uganda, Jamaica and Indonesia, amongst others. In 2007, Jonathan was awarded an OBE for services to human rights.

Human Rights To The Rescue: How the EU Charter Could Save Brexit

Despite Theresa May's assertion that the EU rights that we take for granted will continue post Brexit, the EU Withdrawal Bill which is currently floundering through Parliament removes meaningful access to all EU human rights protection. Most significantly, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights will not become part of UK law.
01/11/2017 16:34 GMT

Brexit And Believing In Britain's Constitution

We need to have the chance to vote for a political party that reflects what we want or don't want from the European Union. This decision cannot be the Prime Minister's. It is for the current Parliament to work out the options, but ultimately it is for us to vote for the type of UK we want live in.
27/01/2017 11:10 GMT

The People for Whom Human Rights Have No Meaning

Nor is it a coincidence that countries that don't criminalise and uphold human rights are more economically viable. With inclusive democracies comes inclusive wealth. Business invests in inclusivity. Tormenting LGBT people is bad for business, bad for wealth creation and bad for health. It undermines the human rights project. Human rights apply to everyone. No one, not even LGBT people, are left behind.
11/12/2015 11:57 GMT

Testament of Love: the Life and Times of Edward Brittain

All those great gay heroes, yet what did their country really do for them? Those that opted to stand up to the justice system would be convicted. Despite being in the clutches of the first total war, the authorities still found time to prosecute at least 300 servicemen for being gay.
16/01/2015 17:10 GMT

The Human Rights Act: Repeal at Our Peril

The 1980s was a watershed decade. From the perspective of human rights, it was the decade when the United Kingdom (UK) began the process towards the successful shift from a system of government premised principally on civil liberties to one that recognised that the human rights of all within the jurisdiction also needed to be promoted and protected.
06/10/2014 11:58 BST

The Human Rights Act and Preserving the Union

Across the UK, children have been the biggest winners, their lives having been transformed on every level by the HRA. Victims of crime and sex offences in particular have also been significant beneficiaries of the HRA. And the other identifiable group whose lives have been altered beyond recognition has been the gay and lesbian community.
22/09/2014 12:55 BST

Nelson Mandela: Giving Substance to LGBT Human Rights

When Nelson Mandela first read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the justness of his cause and the iniquity of apartheid were confirmed. As he retells in his autobiography <em>The Long Walk to Freedom</em>, he took great comfort from that declaration...
11/12/2013 12:09 GMT

Lawyers, Not Diplomats, are the Key to Decriminalising Homosexuality Worldwide

There are currently over 80 countries that criminalise same sex sexual conduct between consenting adults despite its protection under international human rights mechanisms. For over half the countries in the world that outlaw same sex sexual conduct, their laws stem primarily from the United Kingdom's own colonial past. They are a British legacy.
20/02/2012 22:31 GMT