Brian Simpson (QC, DCL , FBA, FAAAS) was a brilliant legal academic, author of innumerable scholarly works including Human Rights and the End of Empire - a history of the genesis of the European Convention on Human Rights. He also frequently assisted the AIRE Centre by producing learned opinions for submission to the European Court of Human Rights in cases such as Singh v UK, Hussain v UK, Osman v UK, Z and TP & KM v UK, Blake v UK , and the Chagos Islanders v UK, and informally by putting his encyclopaedic knowledge of the law and its history at the disposal of the AIRE Centre’s lawyers whenever it was sought. He travelled to destinations across Europe as diverse as the Isle of Man, Jersey, Belgrade, and Tirana to assist in providing training on the ECHR. His attachment to the law and to the rule of law, and his admiration for its best judges and advocates was matched only by his impatience with the arrogance of some of its lesser practitioners.
He was instrumental in setting up a programme with the University of Michigan law school, where he taught for many years, to enable students from the law school to take up internships at the AIRE Centre and undertook the academic supervision of those who chose to take up externships. His dedication to all his students was legendary. He supported the AIRE Centre in many other ways such as donating books and computers and whenever our finances hit rock bottom, a cheque from him would magically arrive out of the blue. When he climbed the four flights of stairs to visit our cramped offices, he always arrived with a cheerful greeting, an entertaining legal anecdote - and a bottle or two of wine.
His generous and warm support for the AIRE Centre will be very greatly missed by all those who have been associated with the organisation for the past fifteen years.