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Meet the Team

Matthew Evans, Director

Nuala Mole, Senior Lawyer

Biljana Braithwaite, Legal Consultant

Saadiya Chaudary, Legal Project Manager

Catharina Harby, Legal Consultant

Markella Papadouli, Europe Litigation Coordinator

Ralitsa Peykova, Legal Project Officer and Consultant

Adriana Tidona, Legal Assistant and Consultant  




 Matthew Evans

Matthew Evans


Matthew Evans has been the Director of the AIRE Centre since 2013. Matthew is a practicing Solicitor and, before joining the AIRE Centre, worked as a legal aid lawyer and then as the Managing Solicitor of the Prisoners Advice Service for 6 years.

As well as being responsible for the running of the AIRE Centre, Matthew undertakes strategic litigation in both the domestic UK and European Courts. Recent cases include Janah and Benkarbouche where the Court of Appeal dis-applied parts of the UK State Immunity Laws as being incompatible with the EU Charter, NA (Pakistan) a reference to the CJEU concerning the retained and derived rights of residence of a domestic violence sufferer, and Oliari and others v. Italy which extended the interpretation of the ECHR principles concerning same-sex individuals who enter stable intimate relationships. Matthew gave evidence to the Joint Committee on the draft Modern Slavery Bill and has written widely on human rights issues for a variety of publications.

Matthew received a Bachelor of Laws and an MSc degree in politics from Southampton University. He has an LLM in labour law, and postgraduate diploma in mental health risk from the LSE, and a diploma in voluntary sector management from CASS business school. Matthew is currently completing an MA in EU law at Kings College London. 


Nuala Mole

Nuala Mole Senior Lawyer

Nuala Mole founded the AIRE Centre and has worked for more than 25 years in the field of human rights. Initially specialising in immigration and asylum, she has broadened her work to include all aspects of international human rights law. She has written extensively on all aspects of the European Convention on Human Rights and on the free movement of persons under European Union law, with special attention to the interface between the two legal orders. She is on the Board of the European Human Rights Law Review and co-edits the Centre's monthly Bulletin of ECHR caselaw.

She has been part of the legal team in more than 120 cases before the ECtHR, the ECJ and landmark cases in the UK. She was chosen by the Council of Europe to represent human rights NGOs at the 50th anniversary of the European Convention in Rome in 2000 and was the Law Society's Human Rights Lawyer of the Year in 2001. She also received the 2005 Prix de l'Ancien - this Alumnus of the Year Prize is awarded each year to a former student of the College of Europe who has made a significant contribution to the promotion of the European ideal, the promotion of excellence, generosity, tolerance and respect for diversity, friendship and solidarity and open-mindedness.

Nuala has conducted training for the Council of Europe, the European Commission and the AIRE Centre for judges, public officials, lawyers and NGOs in 40 of the 46 member states of the Council of Europe on a wide range of topics including immigration, prisoners' rights, children's rights and family law. Since 2001, she has been assisting in curriculum development and implementation for judicial training centres in South East Europe. She works with national and international judges and public officials throughout Western, Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, but particularly in the Balkans, promoting familiarity and awareness with human rights standards and providing assistance in applying them in practice. 

Before setting up the AIRE Centre she was the Director of the NGO Interights for a number of years. Nuala read law at St Anne's College, Oxford and European law at the College of Europe. She speaks English, French, Spanish and Greek.

In 2017 Nuala Mole was named the Financial Times Innovative Lawyer of the year.


Biljana Braithwaite

Biljana BraithwaiteLegal Consultant 

Biljana has been associated with the AIRE Centre since 1998 and currently runs the Centre's South Eastern Europe programmes with the assistance of Catharina Harby. In 1999, Biljana designed, obtained funding for, and implemented the first comprehensive training programme on the European Convention on Human Rights in Serbia and Montenegro which has since become part of the country's formal judicial training programme. Biljana regularly lectures on the European Convention, focusing in particular on property rights, and the Court's jurisprudence from South Eastern Europe. She is also co-editor of the AIRE Centre's Human Rights Bulletin, an international legal review that provides a monthly analysis of key human rights judgments by the Strasbourg Court for the legal communities in the new member states of the Council of Europe, particularly in South Eastern Europe.

 From 2004-8 Biljana was based in Washington DC where she helped establish AIRE Centre USA.  AIRE Centre USA aims to promote for the benefit of the public the sound administration of the law among states which have ratified the European Convention on Human Rights and/or treaties establishing and regulating the European Union. It also seeks to promote an awareness of international human rights law through education and training in the USA and abroad and to keep the AIRE Centre alumni from across the Atlantic in touch with each other and with the AIRE Centre.

Biljana holds a law degree from Belgrade University and an LLM in Public International Law from Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Lund University, Sweden. She speaks fluent Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian, English and basic German.


Saadiya Chaudary

Legal ProjecSaadiya Chaudaryt Manager

Saadiya first came to the AIRE Centre as an intern in 2005 and rejoined the team as Legal Project Manager in February 2010. In this role, Saadiya coordinates the Centre’s Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence Law Project and undertakes third-party interventions and litigation before UK courts and tribunals, the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union. She is a central member of our advice service, particularly in matters of family law, domestic violence, trafficking and in issues of asylum relating to trafficking. Saadiya is also an important part of our training team and represents the Centre at conferences and meetings throughout Europe on a range of issues.

Prior to joining the AIRE Centre, Saadiya was Acting Legal Officer at the Kurdish Human Rights Project and she also carried out work with Reprieve as a member of the Gitmo Civilian Defence Team. Following training at Bindmans LLP, Saadiya qualified as a solicitor in April 2008 and she holds a Masters with distinction in International Law. She has authored & co-authored a number of publications including a chapter contribution in 'Human Trafficking Handbook: Recognising Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery in the UK'. Saadiya also speaks Punjabi and Urdu.


Catharina Harby

Catharina HarbyLegal Consultant

Catharina Harby is a Swedish lawyer who has been working with the AIRE Centre as a Legal Consultant since 2000. She runs, together with her colleague Biljana Braithwaite, the AIRE Centre's programme in Central and Eastern Europe. She has lectured on the substantive and procedural aspects of the European Convention on Human Rights throughout Europe, and has been involved in litigating a number of cases at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. These cases have concerned inter alia the proposed deportation of an AIDS sufferer from the UK to Brazil and a property dispute in Portugal. 

Catharina also lectures part time at the International Relations Programme at Regent's College, London.

As part of a team of European experts, Catharina has been involved in the drafting of a human rights training manual for professional target groups across the 47 member states of the Council of Europe. Further, she is the co-author of the Council of Europe's handbook on The Right to a Fair Trial, and a contributor of case comments to the European Human Rights Law Review (Sweet & Maxwell). She is the co-editor of the Human Rights Alerter (Sweet & Maxwell) and the Assistant Editor of the AIRE Centre's Human Rights Bulletin, which provides monthly analysis of key human right judgments by the European Court of Human Rights.

Catharina studied law at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, where she obtained a Master of Law and speaks fluent Swedish and English, as well as basic French. In 2007 she was short listed for the Peter Duffy Award at the Liberty/Justice Human Rights Awards.


Markella Papadouli

Markella PapadouliEurope Litigation Coordinator 

Markella has been associated with The AIRE Centre since 2012 and she returned in 2013. Markella is a UK SRA Registered, Greek qualified, European lawyer and AIRE Centre’s Europe Litigation Coordinator. In this capacity she coordinates the AIRE Centre strategic litigation team, specialising on taking asylum and trafficking cases before the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the EU. She leads the AIRE Centre’s asylum and trafficking work, providing free legal advice and representation to victims of trafficking, the delivery of training to relevant stakeholders and the representation of the AIRE Centre at conferences and meetings worldwide on both issues of interest. Markella represents the AIRE Centre in the Frontex NGO Consultative Forum and the EASO Consultative Forum, and is a Lecturer at London South Bank University on European Asylum Law and Policy and International Refugee Law.

Markella studied Law at the University of Athens and holds an LLM degree in Maritime Law from the University of Southampton and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Warwick on International Relations and Human Rights. Her Maritime law dissertation critically assessed the interaction between the international and European maritime law provisions with the Common European Asylum system and the Dublin Regulation in particular, while her MA dissertation focused on the role of UNHCR in monitoring implementation of EU legislation and policies on migration and asylum. She further holds a Diploma in Grants Management and has completed the Odysseus Network Summer School in European Law and Policy on Immigration and Asylum.

Markella was the National Expert on Greece for the European Database on Asylum Law in 2013 and has also worked for the European Council on Refugees and Exiles, the International Rescue Committee and UNHCR Greece. Markella speaks fluent Greek, English, French and Spanish as well as basic German.


Ralitsa Peykova 

Legal Project Officer and Consultant for the Western Balkans Rule of Law Project

Ralitsa Peykova has been associated with the AIRE Centre since 2016, when she begun working as a legal caseworker. Ralitsa worked on the AIRE Centre’s domestic violence project, FIRST, an EU funded project aiming to build capacity for First Points of Contact for Victims of Domestic and Gender-based Violence. She is now a Legal Project Officer and consultant for the Western Balkans Rule of Law Project and the Homelessness Project.

 Ralitsa holds an LLB from the University of Southampton, an LLM in Media Law from the University of Queen Mary and an MA in Gender Studies and Law from SOAS, University of London. She is currently doing the Legal Practice Course (LPC) part-time at BPP University, with electives in Immigration law, Family law and Employment law. 

Before joining the AIRE Centre, she worked in the field of human rights for almost 2 years, as a legal case writer for The Global Freedom of Expression & Information Jurisprudence Project by Columbia University researching exemplary freedom of expression/hate speech cases. She also interned at the National Machinery for Women's Rights in the Ministry of Justice and Public Order in Cyprus, where she helped prepare submissions and reports regarding the implementation of CEDAW and the Istanbul Convention in Cyprus. 

She speaks English, Bulgarian and Greek and has basic understanding of French. 




Adriana Tidona 

Legal Assistant and Consultant 

Adriana joined the AIRE as a legal caseworker in September 2016. Between 2016 and 2018 she has worked as an assistant to the AIRE Centre’s ‘Separated Children in Judicial Proceedings’ Project and to the ‘TRACKS’ Project, on the special needs of trafficked asylum seekers. Currently, she works as a consultant on different areas of the AIRE Centre’s litigation and research in the field of asylum and migration, contributing to the drafting of third party interventions and representations in cases before the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the EU. 

She represents the AIRE Centre in the nascent SAROBMED Project, which aims to establish a legal and academic observatory of SAR incidents in the Mediterranean. Before joining the AIRE Centre, she obtained a LLM in International Human Rights Law at the University of Essex, with a Dissertation on the 2016 EU proposal to reform the Common European Asylum system. She further holds a Master’s Degree in Law at the University of Turin and a LLM in Comparative Law at the International University College of Turin.  

In parallel with her role at the AIRE Centre, she works as a Barrister’s paralegal at Garden Court Chambers, conducting casework on a variety of migration matters raising issues of private and family life rights, asylum and deportation. 


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