Collyers IP partner jumps ship for Reprieve deputy director role

Collyer ;Bristow ;IP partner Clare Algar is to leave private practice to join human rights charity Reprieve as deputy director.

Algar ;will ;manage Reprieve’s 15 UK staff and will report to the charity’s founder and legal director Clive Stafford Smith.

Algar told The Lawyer: “[Stafford Smith] spends a lot of time in Guantanamo and around and about the place, so he wanted to have somebody in the London office running things and doing the law stuff over here.”

Reprieve has traditionally been active in representing and lobbying on behalf of US death row inmates. Algar first became involved with the charity when working in New Orleans, before starting her training contract at Collyers 10 years ago.

“At that time the state of Mississippi stopped paying for legal representation for inmates, which was ludicrous,” recalls Algar. “So we carried out legal knowledge tests on the inmates, which they all roundly failed, and then sued the State of Mississippi. That was fascinating and amazing.”

Reprieve has grown by 80 per cent year-on-year since being set up in 1999 and has more recently turned its attentions to Guantanamo Bay detainees.

One of Reprieve’s future plans ;includes ;using international aviation law to challenge flights carrying detainees on the basis that the civilian contractors who carry detainees could be falling foul of the law, which requires all air cargo to be disclosed.

“Another interesting thing,” added Algar, “is the idea of looking into using copyright laws to challenge the music of certain artists being used as a torture weapon.”

Rap artist Eminem’s music in particular, said Algar, was being used to torture inmates by playing it very loudly over headphones, over and over again. Reprieve intends to work closely with artists to explore avenues.