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Ben Cooper

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Ben’s international practice includes litigation in cases against foreign governments before the European Court of Human Rights, advising foreign nationals facing extradition from across the world, including advisory work in relation to extradition proceedings within the US, the Caribbean, Africa, Eastern Europe and former Soviet states.

He advises clients in relation to criminal proceedings abroad and strategies for attacking unjustified Interpol red notices and related immigration and asylum issues, including securing   repatriations and transfers of prisoners to their home country and challenging deportations.

Ben successfully defended the head of a human rights NGO in Kenya who was facing the death penalty in Uganda after travelling there to provide legal assistance to Kenyan citizens who had been unlawfully rendered to Uganda and he has acted on behalf of numerous death row prisoners in the Caribbean. After working at the Jamaica Council for Human Rights and representing the Council before the UNHRC he founded the Bar Caribbean Pro Bono Project providing trial assistance in capital murder trials in Jamaica. Ben is currently representing Andy Tsege, a British citizen who is on death row in Ethiopia after he was illegally kidnapped for political reasons. 

Ben was counsel for Feroz Abbasi in the first legal challenge to both the regime at Guantanamo Bay and the UK's refusal to intercede on behalf of British citizens detained there. He since represented returning prisoners from Guantanamo Bay preventing further criminal proceedings against them in Spain.

He was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in order to defend a historic IRA case concerning the bombing of a British army base in Germany. He has worked in Trinidad and Tobago as junior counsel for the Lord Mackay Royal Commission into the Administration of Justice and later in defending a businessman facing fraud allegations (Piarco National Airport) in both Trinidad and the US, preventing his extradition to the US.

He was asked by the Inter-Parliamentary Union to observe the West Bank trial of the deputy speaker of the Palestinian parliament. Ben delivered judicial human rights training Tunisia, working with the International Bar Association and he trained the judiciary, prosecutors and lawyers in Montenegro, working with the AIRE Centre and OSCE.

Ben Cooper is joint head of the Doughty Street Extradition Team. He defended Gary McKinnon against the USA, acted for Haroon Aswat v UK, (where the European Court held extradition to the US would violate Article 3) and successfully defended the US request for Richard O’Dwyer’s extradition for copyright allegations, securing the first UK-US deferred prosecution agreement (DPA). Ben was Liberty Human Rights Lawyer of the year for 2012. 

He presently acts on the extradition request for a British national by the US for importing items allegedly used in relation to chemical weapons in Syria. The case is controversial as it is public knowledge that the defendant is opposed to the Assad regime. He also works on a number of US extradition requests for fraud allegations, requests from Turkey alleging support for terrorism (PKK) and acted for Christopher Tappin defending the US request alleging that he conspired to supply missile parts to Iran. He won the first US extradition case in the European Court against the UK on Article 3 grounds.

Ben is representing Lauri Love, a UK national who is facing extradition to the US for hacking into US federal computers. Ben is representing Phillip Harkins, who is requested by the US, and, if extradited and convicted, will face a mandatory sentence of life without parole, which would breach Articles 3 and 6 ECHR.  A Rule 39 stay has been granted by the ECtHR for a second time. 

Ben is a member of Fair Trials International’s Legal Experts Advisory Panel, a formal network of defence lawyers, criminal justice NGOs and academics from across Europe which highlights priorities for reform in order to assure fair trial rights across the EU. He has successfully defended extradition cases taken on by Fair Trials International.

"Admiring sources say Ben Cooper "has an amazing attention to detail and great knowledge." He is another at the set with strong extradition expertise allied to criminal defence, civil liberties and human rights capability. He has acted in Northern Ireland, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and Uganda, where he successfully represented Mr Kimathi, the director of a Kenyan human rights NGO, in a case concerning the World Cup bombings in July 2010." Chambers and Partners 2013 "Ben Cooper ‘fights hard to pursue every legal remedy available’." Legal 500 2012

Regional expertise


Venue: Doughty Street Chambers, 54 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LS
Venue: Doughty Street Chambers, 53-54 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LS