The Centre for Military Justice was set up by lawyer, Emma Norton. She is the former head of the legal team at the human rights organisation Liberty, where she worked for ten years. Prior to that, she worked in the public law and civil liberties team at the law firm, Bindmans.
Emma acted for the families of three of the young trainees who died at Deepcut barracks in Surrey in 1995, cases that revealed a bullying, sexualised and abusive environment for young soldiers. She also represented the family of the late Cpl Anne-Marie Ellement who died after reporting rape and bullying in the Army. Cpl Ellement’s inquest led to a prosecution and significant changes to Army policies on how victims of sexual crime should be treated. Emma represented Joe Ousalice, the LGBT veteran who successfully challenged the MoD’s refusal to restore his Long Service & Good Conduct medal after he was thrown out of the Navy because of his sexuality.
Emma continues to represent many service women who have suffered sexual assaults and sexual harassment, other victims of bullying including racist bullying, and bereaved families. She has written on a range of military subjects and is the author of the report ‘Military Justice – Second Rate Justice’ published in 2019. She has commented widely on these issues in both print and broadcast media. Emma lectures twice a year at the Defence Academy on human rights and the Armed Forces.
Olivia Woodward is the CMJ’s paralegal.
Olivia previously worked as a paralegal at Leigh Day in the Clinical Negligence team and at McAllister Olivarius on cases of sexual harassment and abuse and other forms of employment discrimination. She has also worked on issues of Modern Day Slavery at Human Rights Watch and ECPAT UK and LGBT rights at the Human Dignity Trust. Her university degree focused on issues surrounding human rights law, justice and peace and gender-based violence.
Olivia has worked as a Sexual Assault Peer Educator, helping to educate university students on topics of sexual assault and healthy relationships and advocate for better policies for survivors of sexual assault on university campuses. She is a keen supporter of The Access Project, supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds to access higher education.
Our Chair of Trustees, as of March 2021, is John Donnelly CBE. John is a former Brigadier in the British Army. He served from 1982 to 2016 in a variety of operational roles, including commanding the Cheshire Regiment in Iraq and Northern Ireland and serving as Director of Personnel Services for the Army. John now works as Head of Integrity at UK Sport.
Majinder Randhawa is our Treasurer. Majinder is a highly experienced finance manager and senior accountant. She joined the CMJ board in March 2021.
Siân Nicholson is Philanthropy Manager for the national charity, Myeloma UK. She has worked in a variety of senior fundraising roles including at homeless charity FourSquare and digital youth support charity The Mix.
Lawyer Rosie Brighouse has worked at Liberty since 2012 and specialises in strategic litigation on issues of poverty and human rights, free speech and discriminatory policing.
Nicola is a registered Mental Health/Psychological Trauma Consultant, specialising in providing psychological trauma training, consultancy, supervision and clinical support to organisations and individuals. As a registered mental health nurse and trauma therapist specialising in working with traumatic bereavement and multiple fatality incidents, Nicola has worked extensively with the UK Armed Forces, delivering therapeutic interventions for serving personnel returning from operational deployment.
Kathryn is a specialist advisor on bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct. She has undertaken consultancy work with the Army on a range of issues, including a sexual harassment survey that resulted in the report Speak Out, published in 2018. She has extensive experience of working with organisations combating gender-based violence, including Rape Crisis and SafeLives. She is a co-founder of creative campaign agency Improper https://www.improperagency.com/
Sharon and Khristina are the elder sisters of the late Cpl Anne-Marie Ellement who took her own life after reporting rape and bullying in the Army. Sharon worked for many years with young people in schools on overseas exchange programmes and, following her sister’s death, re-trained and is now an experienced foster carer working with vulnerable children. Khristina also works with children and, since her sister’s death, has re-trained as a mental health counselor, now leading outreach work for the Samaritans in the Bournemouth area. Since their younger sister’s death in 2011, both have continued to campaign for better access to justice and support for female victims of sexual assault and those suffering mental distress in the Armed Forces.
Harriet is a lawyer and founder and director of the Centre for Women’s Justice, an organisation that exists to hold the state to account and challenge discrimination in the justice system around male violence against women and girls. She is also the founder of Justice for Women and, through her extensive legal career has brought a range of ground-breaking strategic litigation which has had the effect of improving state responses to gender-based violence. https://www.centreforwomensjustice.org.uk/harriet-wistrich
Tony is a partner at Bhatt Murphy Solicitors specialising in securing accountability against state agents. His work has included representing bereaved families and other victims of state abuse or neglect in the context of police, prison, NHS and other state settings. https://bhattmurphy.co.uk/our-people/tony-murphy
Ahmed is head of military claims and partner at Bolt Burdon Kemp where he manages high value personal injury, clinical negligence and harassment claims, involving allegations of assault or discrimination, serious accidents suffered during training or through failures to treat and rehabilitate. https://www.boltburdonkemp.co.uk/team/ahmed/
Philippa is a counsellor and psychoanalytic psychotherapist in training, working in private practice and in the voluntary sector. Prior to re-training in 2017, she worked for many years as a solicitor representing military personnel in a number of ground-breaking cases and was head of military claims and a partner at Bolt Burdon Kemp.
Jocelyn is a partner in the Civil Liberties team at Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors and has a wealth of experience representing bereaved families at inquests and in claims and other legal challenges against the state. She represented the families of UK soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in a challenge to the Ministry of Defence’s use of poorly armoured ‘Snatch Land Rovers’. The Supreme Court ruling established for the first time that the European Convention on Human Rights applies to procurement decisions affecting soldiers on the battlefield.
Deborah is the executive director of the charity INQUEST. She leads INQUEST’s strategic policy, legal and parliamentary work and has considerable expertise in working to prevent death and ill treatment in all forms of detention and for more effective accountable learning. She has been an independent expert adviser to numerous government committees and inquiries, is a regular media commentator, delivers conference papers nationally and internationally and is author of numerous articles and publications.
Des James was our founding chair. He worked with our Director to establish the CMJ and then steered us through our first year before retiring in March 2021. However Des continues to be closely involved with the charity through the advisory board. Des is the father of Pte Cheryl James who died at Deepcut barracks in Surrey in November 1995 amid allegations of bullying, sexual harassment, and a lack of care by the Army.
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