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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 June, 2003, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK
Wadham: High profile campaigner
Human rights campaigner John Wadham
John Wadham will investigate complaints against the police
Outspoken campaigner for civil liberties John Wadham has been made deputy director of the new Independent Police Complaints Commission.

BBC News Online looks at the man behind the new posting.

John Wadham first hit the headlines in 1998 as the lawyer representing former M15 agent David Shayler.

But he has also fought prominent civil liberties battles over anti-terrorist legislation, DNA databases and identity cards.

Mr Wadham joined human rights organisation Liberty in 1990 as its legal officer before taking over as director eight years ago.


He completed the group's transformation from the National Council for Civil Liberties, bringing it into the mainstream, able to do business with the government.

He will earn between 50- 70,000 in his new post - as deputy to Nick Hardwick, the former executive of the Refugee Council.

His co-deputy is Claire Gilham, a Deputy District Judge and a lecturer at Salford University.

My task will be to ensure that the public really do believe that they have a system they can trust in
John Wadham
Director of Liberty

The pair will take up their posts from September, along with 15 commissioners, and will oversee guardianship of the new complaints system.

They will also monitor and review procedures for dealing with police misconduct.

A qualified private pilot, Mr Wadham told BBC Online: "I'm leaving Liberty with enormous regret.

"I've been here 13 years and it's been the best job I have ever done.

"We have been campaigning for a genuinely independent police complaints system for many years and I think it right that I should take up this new post."

The 51-year-old spent six years working for law centres in London before qualifying as a solicitor in 1989.

He worked in private practice in a civil liberties firm for three years before moving to Liberty.

In 1992 he was promoted to the post of Director of Law and Policy at Liberty and appointed director in 1995.

Numerous articles

He has acted for a large numbers of applicants in cases before the Commission and Court of Human Rights.

He is the co-editor of the civil liberties section of the Penguin Guide to the Law; the case law reports for the European Human Rights Law Review and is the author of Blackstone's Guide to the Human Rights Act 1998.

He has also contributed to many other publications and written numerous articles on human rights and civil liberties.

In May, he accepted an honorary lectureship at the University of Leicester. The appointment is located within the law school and the Scarman Centre.

Mr Wadham was also a member of the Government's Human Rights Act Task Force and has been commissioned to train public authorities, senior officials, police officers, court staff and lawyers on the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Speaking about his new role in the new Independent Police Complaints Commission he said: "My task will be to ensure that the public really do believe that they have a system they can trust in."

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