Vicki Prais

Welcome

My name is Vicki Prais and I am a human rights lawyer based in London.

Hello and welcome to my website. Thanks for stopping by!

I have almost 20 years’ experience in this sector and have a long and varied track record. My wide-ranging experience includes:

  • conducting immigration & asylum/human rights litigation before domestic tribunals
  • developing of capacity building activities and technical assistance programmes
  • campaigning and lobbying on human rights issues’
  • human rights monitoring and mainstreaming
  • consultancy, lecturing, training and teaching

I have worked with the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Scottish Human Rights Commission, the UK Government and non-governmental organisations in a variety of positions in the field and at headquarters.

If you would like to know more about what I do and more specifically how I can help in matters of human rights education, training and consultancy then please read on…

Back to top

Profile & CV

Vision & Mission

It’s time for a better world. I have

  • a passion for social change; using my skills, knowledge and experience for the good and to make a difference;
  • a commitment to the Rule of Law and good governance;
  • a focus on doing the best I can in a professional and socially responsible way;
  • bags of enthusiasm !

Education & Qualifications

  • University of Leicester, Leicester –
    LLM  Human Rights & Civil Liberties (1997-1998)
  • University of the West of England, Bristol –
    LLB (Hons) (1989-1992)
  • Birmingham City University, Birmingham –
    Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice (1993-1994)
  • Qualified Solicitor of the UK Supreme Court of England and Wales (admitted 1996)
Please view/download full CV pdf here

Employment

Here’s a taster of the work I’ve been involved in recently:

2014 - Present

Human Rights Advisor – UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office/Prisoners Abroad – Advise Embassies, Consulates and country caseworkers on cases of British nationals detained overseas where human rights issues are raised. Advise on international human rights law and standards and when and why it may be appropriate for the British Government to intervene in a case.  Responsible for leading on the submission of Amicus Curiae briefs and other interventions directly to the court. Advise on whether cases fall within the FCO’s clemency policy.  Advise Prisoners Abroad on human rights issues relating to British nationals detained overseas. Act as a key liaison point between Prisoners Abroad and the FCO; 

2013 - 2014

Legal Advisor, Council of Europe – providing legal support and advice to the Directorate of General Administration including the Director General, Heads of Department and Division. Providing support to the Secretariat of different committees including the Council of Europe Tenders Board and Buyer Co-ordination Group; 

2012 - 2013

Legal Officer – Human Rights Based Approach, Scottish Human Rights Commission – lead and managed a joint project mainstreaming human rights in the Scottish public sector. Lead the Commission’s work on austerity and human rights;

2011 - 2012

Juriste, Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, Council of Europemanaged the implementation of European Court of Human Rights Judgments in the UK, Ireland and Cyprus

Please view/download full CV pdf here

Continuing Professional Development

I am a firm believer in continuous learning and I try to maintain an awareness of current human rights issues. The following are details of some recent courses I have attended:

  • Penal Reform International, Preventing torture and ill-treatment of female detainees through gender sensitive monitoring, August 2016 
  • Coalition for Equality & Rights
    Glasgow, Scotland, May 2013
    Influencing Politicians and political structures
  • Positive Action in Housing
    Glasgow, Scotland, November 2012
    Equality Impact Assessments
  • British Red Cross
    Cambridge, July 2012
    International Humanitarian Law – Summer School
  • U.S. Institute of Peace
    Washington D.C., May 2012
    Rule of Law Practitioner’s Course
Please view/download full CV pdf here

 

Back to top

How I can help you

I offer a wide range of consulting and advisory services in the area of human rights.

human rights are not optional

Rule of Law and technical assistance, Human Rights training/advice & capacity building


I would be happy to discuss how I can help your organisation with bespoke in-house human rights training.

In particular, I can help your organisation to:

  • produce human rights information, resources and toolkits tailored to your needs;
  • develop human rights training materials;
  • deliver human rights training sessions

I have delivered human rights training programmes to a wide range of public sector organisations, representatives of non-governmental organisations, civil society and legal professionals (including the judiciary) in order to promote national capacity building.

Here are some examples of my work to date in this area.

 

Council of Europe:council_of_europe

I have provided training on European Human Rights law to prosecutors, district and national bodies (including Supreme Court judges), lawyers and key civil society organisations as part of an EU/Council of Europe financed capacity building programme. I have delivered the training, designed the agenda in conjunction with the Council of Europe and participated in workshops/Q & A sessions with participants as required. I have given training in the Ukraine, the Russian Federation and Armenia.

Scottish Human Rights Commission: SHRC logo

As a Legal Officer at the Scottish Human Rights Commission, I have given human rights training/advice to the Scottish Government/Parliament, regulatory bodies and the National Health Service

I have given human rights related advice to:

  • the Scottish Care Inspectorate on the human rights implications of their Single bedroom occupancy and en-suite bathroom provision (March 2013);
  • the NHS Scotland on the human rights implications of emergencies as part of national guidance aimed at NHS Chief Executives to enable them to plan for emergencies in the context of Civil Contingencies and other key legislation;
  • the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee on the human rights impacts of the austerity measures under the Welfare Reform Act 2012.  You can see a copy of the submission I drafted here:  http://www.scottishhumanrights.com/news/latestnews/article/welfarereformafterevidence

Institutional strengthening: promoting a human rights based approach within organisations

A human rights based approach (HRBA) seeks to ensure that international human rights standards are integrated in any policies, programme planning, design, implementation or decision making.

For more information on a HRBA see the Scottish Human Rights Commission: http://www.scottishhumanrights.com/ourresources/promotinghrba

My work on HRBA includes:

    • managing a pilot project at the Scottish Human Rights Commission in partnership with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to develop practical support for best practice approaches to equality and human rights impact assessment.

As project manager I have been responsible for managing contractors and a Steering  Group, keeping the budget on track, facilitating training, building and maintenance of a web portal and general project oversight and management

For more information on this project see: http://www.scottishhumanrights.com/ourresources/hreqiamaincontent

      • advising NHS Health Scotland on incorporating a human rights based approach in their Health Inequalities Impact Assessment Guidance;
      • co-facilitating a workshop with NHS Scotland on Health & Human Rights;
      • advising the NHS Scotland on the human rights impacts of its Immunisation Programme;

Mentoring and human rights careers advice

Are you a student looking to forge a career in human rights?  Are you scared about the next step?

If so, I would be happy to help, guide and mentor you as you embark on your career. I know the challenges you face in breaking into this most competitive of worlds. I have plenty of great experience, advice and inside knowledge to share, having worked in different sectors of the human rights world.

In particular I can offer the following:

      • one-to-one mentoring focusing on individual human rights career aspirations, skills sets, strengths and weaknesses;
      • identifying suitable human rights and internship job opportunities;
      • interview and job application advice;
      • talks and presentations to universities at careers fairs and law faculties;
      • developing human rights careers materials.

I have mentored a number of students by phone, email, Skype and in person and I feel passionate about helping the next generation as they start their own human rights journey.

MENTORING SCHEME – UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF ENGLAND, BRISTOL

Since September 2013 I have been working with the University of the West of England, Bristol in mentoring law students who want to work in the human rights sector.  Students are referred to me via the Law Faculty and I advise over Skype, phone and email.

TALKS AND PRESENTATIONS:

I have given a number of presentations at universities to both undergraduate and masters students on how to pursue a career in human rights focusing on a variety of  human rights careers, practical insights, tips and ‘insider’ knowledge.

Recent presentations include:

      • Bristol University, Human Rights Implementation Centre – March 2016, How to pursue a career in human rights
      • University of the West of England, Bristol – March 2013, How to pursue a career in human rights
      • Glasgow University, Futures Event – Graduate Skills event – February 2013, “Your Future Working in Legal Institutions”

If you would like me to come and talk to your university students on this topic then please do get in touch.

Back to top

Current activities

I offer a wide range of consulting and advisory services in the area of human rights.

Current consultancies

I have built up a significant consultancy portfolio principally through my work with the Council of Europe:

COUNCIL OF EUROPE: council_of_europe

I have been engaged by the Council of Europe to help design, develop and deliver the following training programmes :

June 2008, Criminal Procedure under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and related extradition issues, in conjunction with the Association of Judges of Armenia, Yerevan Armenia. (Judges)

Organised within the framework of the Joint Programme between the European Union and Council of Europe on “Fostering a Culture of Human Rights” aiming to promote education, training, monitoring and awareness of European human rights standards

December 2008, Application of the ECHR, in conjunction with the Russian Academy of Justice, Nizhiny Novgorod, Russian Federation

Organised within the framework of the joint programme between the EU and COE on “Enhancing the capacity of legal professionals and law enforcement officials to apply the ECHR in domestic legal proceedings and practices”   (Training of the judiciary)

June 2010, Combating ill-treatment and impunity: European standards and safeguards for protection of the rights of detainees and effective investigation of the complaints of ill-treatment, in conjunction with the Legal Analysis and Strategies Institute, Gaspra, Ukraine.

Organised within the framework of the Joint Programme between the EU and Council of Europe on “Combating ill treatment and impunity”

June 2011, European standards for the effective investigation of allegations of ill-treatment, in conjunction with the Chamber of Advocates of Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia  (for lawyers).

Organised within the framework of the Joint Programme between the EU and the Council of Europe on “Combating ill treatment and impunity”

Lecturing & Teaching

I really enjoy teaching and over the past few years have lectured at a number of educational institutions both in the UK and abroad.  I am also a Judge at the Council of Europe Human Rights Moot Court competition.

European Human Rights Moot Court competition, Council of Europe/European Law Students Association:

Since 2012 I have been a Judge at the Council of Europe/European Law Students Association Moot Court competition. The competition aims to give law students practical experience of the European Convention on Human Rights and its implementation.

For more information see: http://www.humanrightsmootcourt.org/

European Law Students Association, Online Hate Speech Essay Competition – Judge

I was a Judge for the 2013 ELSA Online Hate Speech Essay Competition which is organised in cooperation with the Council of Europe.  For more information see: http://elsa.org/page/online-hate-speech-essay-competition/

European Human Rights Foundation, Strasbourg –

I am a member of the European Human Rights Foundation, an alumni organisation of lawyers from the European Court of Human Rights which develops and delivers tailor made training for Council of Europe member states’ judicial and legal communities, undertakes awareness raising activities in member states and other human rights-related research activities.

For more information see: http://ehra.fr/Introduction.html

Conference Paper, European Research Council Project researching conditions for effective international adjudication, Hebrew University, Israel – International Law Forum, August 2012

I gave a paper to a European Council funded project researching conditions for effective international adjudication on the Implementation of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights

For more information: http://www.effective-intl-adjudication.org

University of Middlesex, Guest lecturer, School of Social Science (2004-2010):

I was, until 2010, a guest lecturer at the University of Middlesex in London where I gave an annual workshop to graduate students in Forensic Psychology on the procedural and practical aspects of UK Immigration & Asylum law.  Topics addressed have also included UK Counter-terrorism legislation.

Pro Bono

I am involved with a number of pro-bono activities in my spare time:

Refugee Survival Trust: rst_logo-1

In 2012/2013 I was a fundraising volunteer with the Refugee Survival Trust, a small Edinburgh-based charity that provides grants to asylum seekers and refugees living in Scotland. I have drafted fundraising applications on behalf of RST to trusts and foundations.

For more information see: www.rst.org.uk

René Cassin RC_Logo_Colour

I am a Trustee and former co-Chair of René Cassin, a London-based non-governmental organisation, which campaigns and educates on universal human rights issues including discrimination, detention of asylum seekers, genocide and slavery and human trafficking.

In my work with René Cassin I have:

  • undertaken international advocacy on Darfur as part of a René Cassin delegation at the United Nations Human Council and lobbied the international community to take robust action on Darfur;
  • helped to develop a Legal Toolkit for lawyers who want to devote pro bono time to René Cassin’s Asylum Seekers campaign;
  • led student delegations to the United Nations in Geneva as part of human rights education and awareness raising trips;
  • been responsible for the overall management of the organisation including providing strategic direction and leadership, fundraising, governance, overseeing the management of staff and representing the organisation nationally and internationally.

For more information see: www.renecassin.org

Back to top

Publications

I really enjoy writing both academically and for a wider audience through blogs and magazines. Here are some examples of the articles I’ve written over the years:

Protecting the human rights of British nationals in detention around the world: A view from the coalface, The Public International Law Discussion Group at the University of Oxford, February 2016 | Listen to posdcast
The role of Civil Society in the Execution of Judgments, Oxford Human Rights Blog13, May 2013 |  View PDF
Mooting comes to Strasbourg, The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland, 15 April 2013 |  View PDF
European Human Rights Law Review, “The role of Civil Society in the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights”, Issue 5, 2012 – Prais V and Miara L |  View PDF
All about Advocates, The Brief (in house magazine of Treasury Solicitor), 2011 |  View PDF
Judge for Yourself, Linklaws (official magazine of the Association of Women Solicitors), Issue 33, Spring 2009 | View PDF
Human Rights Help in Armenia, The Brief (in house magazine of Treasury Solicitor), Spring 2009 | View PDF
The Rights Stuff, The Lawyer magazine, Vol 22 Issue 38, 6 October 2008 | View PDF

Training Armenian Judges: Criminal Procedure under the European Convention on Human Rights, Legal Hub online – Sweet and Maxwell 3 October 2008 | View PDF
Crunch Time in Kosovo, Young Solicitors Group magazine, Jan/Feb 2006, Issue 38 |  View PDF
Life as an Immigration Solicitor, Young Solicitors Group magazine, Jan/Feb 2006, Issue 36 | View PDF
Crunch Time in Kosovo, Immigration Law Digest, Vol 11 No 3, Autumn 2005 |  View PDF
Some factual aspects of the position of persecuted groups in Iran, Immigration Law Digest, Spring 2004 (co authored) | View PDF
Iran in Focus, Inexile magazine (British Refugee Council) Issue 30, March 2004 (co authored) | View PDF
Current judicial approach to MDC Zimbabwe cases, Immigration Law Digest 6 January 2004 (co authored) | View PDF

Back to top

Get in Touch

If you like what you’ve read then please do get in touch. I hope we can work together!

© Vicki Prais. All rights reserved. Site design & build Bond77