Jonny was an inspiration and life force to everyone he met, in chambers, throughout the Bar and globally. He was ubiquitous in his influence- fighting for LGBT rights with great courage and positivity; lecturing throughout the world on human rights; fighting for the Human Rights Act; championing the European Convention on Human Rights; editing the European Human Rights Law Review and working to defend the Rule of Law and the independence of judges and advocates in places as diverse as Turkey, Belarus, Albania, South Africa, Sudan, the Palestinian Authority, Kazakhstan, and throughout the Caribbean.
From the very beginning of his career as HIV Aids coordinator at the Haemophilia Society, he understood that the basis of all struggles - whether it is people living with HIV or those seeking self-determination in Africa - was that human rights underpin everything. And the greatest of these for Jonny was the right to human dignity. His approach to every issue or problem was to think creatively, out of the box, from a place where solutions inevitably emerged as a result.
Jonny was the first director of the Human Dignity Trust which he helped set up to challenge laws criminalising same-sex intimacy worldwide. Latterly he moved to broaden his focus on LGBT rights generally, always maintaining strong and typically caring links with the activists he worked with in his life. He championed the cause of same-sex couples who wanted to establish their equal right to marry and found a family in the Caribbean and elsewhere. He was the moving force behind a case challenging homophobia in Jamaica at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Jonny’s influence and inspiration to young barristers, solicitors and law students was immense. There were many people who came to the Bar because of him and were encouraged by him in pursuing a career in law. He lectured widely throughout the world and was forever spurring and supporting colleagues to take up and work on cases which he had himself initiated and inspired. Jonny was also an immensely kind, generous-spirited and fun human being who brought good cheer, humour and his infectious enthusiasm to every campaigning event and social occasion which he graced with his presence. His colleagues and friends in Chambers as well as across the world are filled with immense sadness and send our deepest condolences to his wonderful family and his much beloved husband, Kevin.
If you would like to express your condolences and share your memories of Jonny, please submit these by filing out a form via the ‘Send your message’ button below.
If you would like to make a donation in Jonathan’s memory, his husband, Kevin, wishes this to be AIDS Memory UK, a charity which Jonny was in the process of establishing. Jonny cared passionately about the establishment of a memorial where all could remember those who have died, those who still live, and reflect on the journeys involved and the fights still to come.