Doughty Street Chambers is delighted to announce new collaborations with three of the most internationally respected defenders of democracy and human rights.  Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and Dr Shirin Ebadi join our panel of Academic Experts*, and François Zimeray joins our panel of Associate Tenants*.  Their outstanding careers in international diplomacy and human rights law represent a hugely exciting addition to our team of experts, from which clients of Chambers can draw. 


Commenting on these new collaborative relationships, Joint Head of Chambers Geoffrey Robertson QC said “English barristers are joining forces with human rights heroes in order to fight to maintain international standards, and for this purpose we look forward to working with Zeid, Shirin and François.  Our advocacy will have all the more force now that they are behind it.  Together we will seek peaceful solutions to international disputes, and use the law to support victims of human rights abuses.”


Steven Powles, Head of Doughty Street’s International team said “We are so happy to welcome these three outstanding practitioners into our team. They each bring with them their unique expertise and perspective, but share a strong desire to use the law to assist the most vulnerable and underprivileged of our world.”


(*- Our Academic Experts collaborate with our barristers to offer clients insights drawn from their extensive international experience, and our Associate Tenants are practising lawyers in overseas jurisdictions with whom our barristers work to provide clients with legal advice and representation.)   




Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein was until recently the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, prior to which he served for many years in the Jordanian diplomatic corps, with missions including acting as Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, and as Ambassador to the USA.  His professional experience demonstrates his long familiarity with international criminal justice, international law, UN peacekeeping, post-conflict peace-building, international development, and counter-nuclear terrorism.   


He was heavily involved in the establishment of the International Criminal Court, chairing the complex negotiations regarding the elements of individual offences amounting to genocide; crimes against humanity; and war crimes.  He also oversaw the election of the Court’s first 18 judges and the selection of its first President.


Zeid has been a longstanding champion of human rights education, and he has been an outspoken critic of human rights abuses.  He holds degrees from The Johns Hopkins University and the University of Cambridge, and an Honorary Doctorate from the Southern California Institute of Law.



Dr Shirin Ebadi was the first female Nobel Peace Prize Laureate from the Islamic World (2003). She was Iran’s first female judge, served as president of the city court of Tehran from 1975 to 1979 and was the first Iranian woman to achieve Chief Justice status.  After opening a legal practice, she began defending people who were being persecuted by the authorities. In the year 2000 she was imprisoned herself for having criticized her country's hierocracy. In addition to being an internationally recognized advocate of human rights, she has also established many non-governmental organizations in Iran, including the Million Signatures Campaign, a campaign demanding an end to legal discrimination against women in Iranian law. Dr Ebadi has a doctorate in Law from Tehran University, and is a university professor. She has published over 70 articles and 13 books dedicated to various aspects of human rights, some of which have been published by UNICEF.  In 2004, she was named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world. In January 2006, along with sister Laureate Jody Williams, Dr Ebadi took the lead in establishing the Nobel Women’s Initiative.



François Zimeray is an international lawyer, formerly serving as the French Human Rights Ambassador-at-large and as a Member of the European Parliament. 


Called to the Paris Bar in 1987, he has extensive experience dealing with complex international legal challenges, for individuals, corporations and governments. Previously, François was a partner in a leading Paris law firm where he advised and assisted corporations on transnational commercial disputes both in litigation and arbitration.


As a member of the European Parliament, he served on the Legal Affairs Committee and contributed to the preparatory works for the European Charter of Fundamental Rights (1999-2004) and the creation of a European mutual assistance in criminal matters.


He later became the highest-ranking French Human Rights diplomat (2008-2013) and represented his country for Human Rights issues before multilateral institutions, including during their Universal Periodic Review and other UN sessions.


Returning to private practice in 2018, Ambassador Zimeray now combines his skills in international law with his diplomatic experience, advising private and public sector clients on complex international disputes. His areas of expertise include international human rights, business and human rights, arbitration and transnational crimes.