Clive Stafford Smith BW

Clive Stafford Smith biography

Clive Stafford SmithClive Stafford Smith OBE is a lawyer specialising in defending people accused of the most serious crimes, and is Founder and Director of the UK legal action charity Reprieve.

Clive spent 26 years working as an attorney in the Southern United States, where he represented over 300 prisoners facing the death penalty. Whilst only taking the cases of those who could not afford lawyers, he prevented in the death penalty in all but six cases (a 98% “victory” rate). Few lawyers ever take a case to the US Supreme Court. Clive has taken five, and all of the prisoners prevailed.

In 2001, when the US military base at Guantánamo Bay was pressed into service, Clive joined two other lawyers to sue for access to the prisoners there. He believed the camp to be an affront to democracy and the rule of law. His ultimate goal is to close it and restore to the US and its allies their legitimacy as champions of human rights.

To date, Clive has helped secure the release of more than 60 prisoners from Guantánamo (including every British prisoner) and still acts for 17 more. More recently, Clive and Reprieve have turned their eye to other secret prisons, and to the victims of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Alongside many other awards, in 2000 Clive received an OBE for ‘humanitarian services’ and in 2014, the Contrarian Prize.