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NRI woman among UK's most powerful lawyers

April 22, 2008 15:33 IST

An Indian-origin woman, who heads a prominent human rights organisation in Britain, has been listed among the top ten most powerful lawyers in the country.

The list of 100 most powerful lawyers, published by The Times on Tuesday, listed Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights organisation 'Liberty', at number 9.

The only other Asian lawyer on the list of 100 is Imran Khan, a prominent human rights lawyer.

'One of the most prominent commentators seen and heard in the broadcast media, the director of Liberty is a fluent and highly persuasive voice in the civil liberties debate,' the Times wrote of Chakrabarti.

'Chakrabarti, 39, is no rent-a-quote: her responses can be counter-intuitive and she defends the Government or the police, for instance, where she believes them right,' it said.

A barrister and bencher of Middle Temple, Chakrabarti worked as a lawyer in the Home Office in 1996-2001, before joining Liberty.

In 2005 she was voted by BBC Radio 4 Today listeners among the top ten people who could run Britain.

She was shortlisted by Channel 4 Political Awards last year for 'most inspiring political figure', beating Tony Blair and David Cameron, but beaten by Jamie Oliver.

As director of Liberty since September 2003, she became heavily involved in its engagement with the 'War on Terror' and with the defence and promotion of human rights values in Parliament, the Courts and wider society.

Governor of the London School of Economics and the British Film Institute, she has written, spoken and broadcast widely on the importance of the post-World War II human rights framework as an essential component of democratic society.

Photograph: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

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