Doughty Street junior barrister replaces Shami Chakrabarti as director of Liberty

Avatar photo

By Katie King on

Martha Spurrier was called to the bar in 2010, the same year as Amal Clooney

Doughty Street Chambers
Doughty Street Chambers

Junior barrister Martha Spurrier has been appointed as the new director of human rights organisation Liberty, as the Doughty Street Chambers conveyor belt churns out yet another high profile rookie.

The barrister replaces well-respected lawyer Shami Chakrabarti, who stepped down from the role in January after 12 years at the forefront of the fearless campaign group. Chakrabarti seems more than happy with her successor, describing Spurrier — a University of Cambridge history grad — as “a brilliant young barrister”.

You might assume that a position of such prestige and importance would be reserved for a lawyer well into their forties or fifties. Spurrier, however, was only called to the bar in 2010, making her very much a junior barrister.

But that doesn’t mean she’s not up to the task. She has enjoyed a glittering academic career, is former in-house counsel at Mind and the Public Law Project, and has also acted as a judicial assistant to the vice-president of the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Maurice Kay.

As a barrister, Spurrier — who will remain an associate tenant at Doughty Street — specialises in access to justice issues, as well as the rights of women, children and disabled people. She has also written extensively on human rights issues. With a track record like that, it’s unsurprising that the resounding reaction to her appointment is one of support and encouragement.

But there’s nobody happier than Spurrier herself, who couldn’t contain her excitement about her new job title.

Spurrier is hardly the first high-profile barrister to find fame in the Doughty Street offices. The hip human rights set is also home to the world famous human rights pioneer Amal Clooney who, incidentally, was called to the bar in the same year as the new Liberty director.

Clooney’s chambers mate is Tunde Okewale, social mobility pioneer and Instagram’s most followed barrister. And let’s not forget Afua Hirsch, the ex-Doughty Street pupil barrister who is now social affairs and education editor at ‎Sky News.

Welcoming Spurrier, chair of Liberty Frances Butler said:

Martha Spurrier shone out in a competitive field as our unanimous choice to lead Liberty into the next phase of its proud history. She is a compelling and fearless campaigner with energy, gravitas, a first-class mind and a quick wit. We are confident that, under Martha’s leadership, Liberty will continue to vigorously and successfully champion all our rights and freedoms.

Legal Cheek congratulates Spurrier on her appointment — we’re sure she’ll do a fantastic job.