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Alex Carlile, Baron Carlile of Berriew

Alexander Charles Carlile, Baron Carlile of Berriew, CBE, QC, FRSA (born 12 February 1948) is a British barrister and crossbench member of the House of Lords.[1]

The Lord Carlile of Berriew

Official portrait of Lord Carlile of Berriew crop 2.jpg
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
27 July 1999
Life Peerage
Member of Parliament
for Montgomeryshire
In office
11 June 1983 – 1 May 1997
Preceded byDelwyn Williams
Succeeded byLembit Öpik
Personal details
Alexander Charles Carlile

(1948-02-12) 12 February 1948 (age 71)
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
Political partyLiberal Democrats (Before 2017)
None (2017–present)
Alma materKing's College London


Early life and careerEdit

Alex Carlile, the son of Polish Jewish immigrants,[2] was brought up in Ruabon, North Wales and in Lancashire. He was educated at Epsom College and at King's College London where he graduated in law in 1969. He was called to the Bar by Gray's Inn in 1970 and became a Queen's Counsel (QC) at the early age of 36.[3]

Lord Carlile of Berriew is a barrister and former head of chambers of Foundry Chambers, London, a set of barristers' chambers. He defended Diana, Princess of Wales's butler, Paul Burrell, against charges that Burrell had stolen some of her estate's belongings.[3] In 2001 he was appointed the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation.[4] Carlile stood down as head of chambers at 9–12 Bell Yard in March 2008.

Carlile was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to national security.[5]

Political careerEdit

Carlile was created a life peer in 1999, as Baron Carlile of Berriew, of Berriew in the County of Powys, having previously been a Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Montgomeryshire from 1983 to 1997; he had stood unsuccessfully as a Liberal for East Flintshire in February and October 1974. As the sole Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Wales after the 1992 election, Carlile helped steer the party through one of its low points. He was instrumental in the pre-devolution discussions with the Welsh Labour Party that led up to the 1997 devolution referendum.

Lord Carlile sat as a Liberal Democrat peer until 2016 when he left the party stating that he found himself "at odds" with the party's policies on many matters including national security issues. It was reported that civil liberties, especially the so-called Snooper's Charters, were at the core of the disagreement.[6]

According to the Register of Lords' Interests, Lord Carlile of Berriew was at various times a director of 5 Bell Yard Ltd and the Wynnstay Group of agricultural feed manufacturers, agricultural goods merchants and fuel oil distributors; a Deputy High Court Judge; a Chairman of the Competition Appeals Tribunal; and a trustee of the White Ensign Association. He became President of the Howard League for Penal Reform in 2006.

Carlile is a co-director and co-owner of a strategy and political risks consultancy, SC Strategy Limited with Sir John Scarlett, the former chief of MI6.[7]

Carlile was, in 2014, the principal proponent of the withdrawal of Maryam Rajavi's travel ban.[citation needed] The Supreme Court decided in favour of the UK government.[8]

Howard League for Penal ReformEdit

Chair of the 2006 Inquiry into physical restraint, solitary confinement and forcible strip searching of children in prisons, secure training centres and local council secure children's homes. Now President of the Howard League[9]

On 11 May and 6 June 2011, Lord Carlile held a follow-on Public Inquiry in the House of Lords. He put together an expert panel to advise and to give evidence to the Inquiry. This expert panel who gave both written and oral evidence consisted of Nick Hardwick (Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons), Paul Cook (G4S children's services), Eric Baskind (British Self Defence Governing Body, Liverpool John Moores University), Malcolm Stevens (JusticeCare Solutions), Laura Janes (Howard League for Penal Reform), John Drew (Youth Justice Board for England and Wales), Sue Berelowitz (Office of the Children's Commissioner), and Carolyne Willow (CRAE).[10]


Carlile was the first Member of Parliament to campaign for the rights of transgender people.

Lord Carlile acted from 2001 to 2011 as the UK's Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. He was succeeded by David Anderson QC. The Director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, called Carlile's support for control orders "disappointing" in a February 2006 press release condemning the introduction of control orders by the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005.[11] Following the resignation of David Davis to fight a by-election on an "anti 42-day" platform, Carlile wrote an article for The Sun criticising his stance. In 2015, he joined with a cross-party group of peers to reintroduce the Draft Communications Data Bill, known by its opponents as the "Snoopers' Charter".[12] He was an independent reviewer on the 2015 Assessment on Paramilitary Groups in Northern Ireland.

He was vocal in his opposition to the UK coalition government's Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, proposing many amendments.[13] He was one of five Lords who vehemently opposed the introduction of means testing for police advice (to cover the cost of lawyers consulting suspects in police stations). "A single moment of reflection leaves one open-mouthed at the absurdity of this proposal," he said.[14]

Personal lifeEdit

He lists his recreations as politics, theatre, food and football, and is a member of the Athenaeum Club. He is a lifelong supporter of English football club Burnley FC.[15] He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Patron of The Security Institute, and previous Chairman of the Chartered Security Professionals Registration Authority.[16] He has three children by his first wife Frances and nine grandchildren. He married his second wife, Alison Levitt, QC, in December 2007. She is a member of the London barristers' chambers, 2 Hare Court.

Carlile is a Bencher of Gray's Inn.[17]

On 11 July 2018, Carlile (after being granted a visa) was refused entry to India at Indira Gandhi International Airport where he was due to address a press conference in defence of jailed Bangladeshi politician Khaleda Zia and meet a human rights body. India’s foreign ministry said his "intended activity in India was incompatible with the purpose of his visit as mentioned in his visa application", though media reported the decision to refuse him entry was a political one to protect India-Bangladesh relations.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Lord Carlile of Berriew". UK Parliament. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  2. ^ Mosley, Charlestown and, editor. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes. Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003.
  3. ^ a b Butler, Carl (29 January 2007). "Welsh peer leaves wife for high-flyer". Wales Daily Post.
  4. ^ Lord Carlile of Berriew QC (2005). "Report on the operation in 2005 of the Terrorism Act 2000". Home Office. Archived from the original on 3 September 2008.
  5. ^ "No. 60009". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2011. p. 7.
  6. ^ Williamson, David (13 January 2017). "Former Welsh Lib Dem leader parts company with party". walesonline. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  7. ^ "SC STRATEGY LIMITED - Overview (free company information from Companies House)". Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  8. ^ "(2014) UKSC 60 On appeal from: (2013) EWCA Civ 199" (PDF).
  9. ^ Timeline of children's rights in the United Kingdom[circular reference]
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 August 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Independent Reviewer calls to renew Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005". Liberty press release. 2 February 2006. Archived from the original on 7 October 2008.
  12. ^ Patrick Wintour (22 January 2015). "'Snooper's charter': four Lords in bid to pass changed version before election". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  13. ^ "Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012". Parliament of the United Kingdom. 1 May 2012.
  14. ^ Carlile, Lord (7 December 2011). "Proposed reforms to legal aid would put Britain back three decades, argues peer". Exaro news. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  15. ^ "Examining football club finances". BBC News. 18 January 2010. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  16. ^ "News in Brief: Special Edition" (PDF). The Security Institute. 13 May 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2011.
  17. ^ "Management Committee of Gray's Inn". 28 June 2011. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  18. ^ "British lawyer for jailed Bangladeshi ex-PM 'outraged' by India..." 12 July 2018 – via

External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Delwyn Williams
Member of Parliament for Montgomeryshire
Succeeded by
Lembit Opik
Party political offices
Preceded by
Chairman of the Welsh Liberal Party
Succeeded by
Winston Roddick
Preceded by
Richard Livsey
Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats
Succeeded by
Richard Livsey
Preceded by
Martin Thomas
President of the Welsh Liberal Democrats
Succeeded by