Matthew Evans, Director
Nuala Mole, Senior Lawyer
Biljana Braithwaite, Legal Consultant
Beatrice Blois, Legal Project Officer
Saadiya Chaudary, Legal Project Manager
Catharina Harby, Legal Consultant
David Joseph, Chief Financial Officer
Emma Lough, Legal Project Manager
Audrey Cherryl Mogan, Legal Project Manager & Communications Manager
Markella Papadouli, Legal Project Manager
Vera Soldanova, Legal Advice Line Manager
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 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 70 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.
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.
Legal Project Officer
Beatrice joined the AIRE Centre in 2013 as a legal caseworker and now works as Project Officer for the Rule of Law in the Western Balkans programme.
Beatrice assists the Balkans department in providing capacity building and training to Judges in the Western Balkans on the European Convention on Human Rights and European law. She has written for the AIRE Centres Legal Bulletin and works on the online database of human rights jurisprudence.
Prior to joining the AIRE Centre Beatrice worked in the Argentine Senate Chamber as a Research Assistant. Her research tasks concerned analysing national and international media legislation and agricultural tax law for which she drafted reports and policy commentaries. During her studies she was elected Campaigns and Fundraiser Officer for her Student Union for two years.
Beatrice holds a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Essex, an MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and a GDL from the University of Law. She has been awarded a scholarship to continue her studies for the Bar Professional Training Course in the coming years. She speaks Spanish, French, English and basic Italian.
Legal Project 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 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.
Chief Finance Officer
David joined the AIRE Centre’s team in January 2013 as its chief financial officer with responsibility for developing the organisation’s finance function. David is a chartered certified accountant and studied charity management and finance at London South Bank University.
He has a background in financial and management accounting, treasury management, fundraising and voluntary treasurer training and development. Prior to working in the charity sector, David had worked in manufacturing, transport and the bookmaking industry. Since the late 1990s he has held roles as finance director or director of resources at national and local charities. David is also an active volunteer and trustee at a charity supporting victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence. In his spare time, he is a keen walker and is catching up on reading the old classics.
Legal Project Manager
Emma is a qualified lawyer and was called to the Bar in 2014 as a Major Scholar of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple. She has degrees in History and in Law from the University of Cambridge and the University of Law and is currently completing an LLM in International Law.
Prior to joining the AIRE Centre as the Legal Project Manager of the Women in Prison project, Emma ran a Big-Lottery funded project focusing on improving the delivery of welfare services and working with local and national government on system reform in the welfare sector. She previously worked as a Caseworker for a London anti-poverty charity and provided advice and representation in tribunals and Magistrates’ courts challenging government decisions on welfare, housing and debt on behalf of vulnerable claimants. Emma continues to provide training in welfare rights and administrative law to develop pro bono projects at a range of law firms.
Emma has experience volunteering with a number of human rights, social justice and crime prevention organisations, working with victims of crime, torture and domestic abuse, death row inmates, refugees and people with severe mental health disorders. She has volunteered with Amnesty International in Berlin and the New-York based anti-death penalty campaign organisation Equal Justice USA. She was a UK delegate at NCVO’s Young Core Leaders in Civil Society Development Groups to Japan in 2015, working with disabilities groups in Tokyo and the surrounding area.
Emma’s previous pro bono work includes welfare rights advice for a London women’s centre working with sex workers and victims of rape. She worked on the Exceptional Funding Project at the Public Law Project advising on reforms to legal aid and eligibility for alternative support and has sat as an executive sub-committee member of the Human Rights Lawyers Association.
Legal Project Manager & Communications Manager
Audrey joined The AIRE Centre in 2013, and wears a few different hats. Audrey conducts pre-litigation research on Operation Nexus, a joint initiative between the MET Police and the Home Office which targets foreign nationals encountered by the police in London. She also manages our Legal Education Foundation grant, providing advice to clients, mainly around issues of deportation and removal, and develops training tools on EU free movement & citizenship rights for first-tier organisations. Audrey is also our Communications Manager, responsible for overseeing The AIRE Centre’s communications strategy, raising the profile of the organisation and engaging with the media.
Audrey was Called to the Bar by Lincoln's Inn in 2014 and has a Masters degree in Human Rights and International Law from the London School of Economics. She travelled to Sri Lanka in 2010 with a grant from the LSE to complete her dissertation on the human rights abuses during the civil war.
Before joining the AIRE Centre Audrey worked for the genocide prevention NGO, Aegis Trust, in their offices in London and in Kigali, Rwanda. Audrey also worked in the Legislative Drafting Department of the Ministry of Justice in Rwanda, supporting efforts to develop discrimination laws. She has co-authored the publication, “Tracking the Process of International Norm Emergence: A Comparatiave Analysis of Six Agendas and Emerging Migrants’ Rights”, aimed at developing an implementation strategy for an International Migrants Bill of Rights, written case notes for the Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law on R (On the Application Of Kiarie) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department and TN and MA (Afghanistan) (Appellants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent); AA (Afghanistan) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) and on the impact of UK asylum legislation and benefits restrictions on vulnerable asylum seekers.
Legal Project Manager
Markella has been associated with the AIRE Centre since 2012 and returned in 2014. As Legal Project Manager, Markella manages the Esmee Fairburn funded Trafficking project, focusing on the provision of 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 asylum and trafficking. Markella also works on two other projects; the EU TRACKS project exploring the nexus between asylum and trafficking through the vantage point of vulnerable asylum seekers and the EU FIRST project focusing on victims of domestic of violence and gender based violence.
Markella is a Registered European Lawyer (Greek qualified) and a member of the AIRE Centre strategic litigation team focusing on asylum and trafficking cases. She is also a Lecturer at the London South Bank University on European Asylum Law and Policy and International Refugee Law.
Markella studied Law at the University of Athens and holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Warwick on International Relations and Human Rights. Her 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.
Prior to joining the AIRE Centre, 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.
Legal Advice Line Manager
Vera joined The AIRE Centre in 2015 and is responsible for the overall management of our Advice Line, responding to advice requests and taking up selected advocacy work that flows through the advice line.
Prior to joining The AIRE Centre, Vera worked for the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) based in Brussels as EU Rights Manager, dealing with queries from citizens on European law and consulting with legal experts in the Your Europe Advice network. Vera worked directly with European institutions on various projects, particularly with respect to freedom of movement of persons and workers within the EU. She collaborated with the team and external bodies and prepared feedback reports and research findings that were submitted to the European Commission.
Before joining ECAS, Vera worked as a lawyer in Luxembourg, the Czech Republic and Germany. Vera was a blue-book trainee in the Directorate-General for Translation of the European Commission. She previously worked in the private sector joining a law firm focusing on corporate law in Prague. She also practised German law in Dresden where she focused on freedom of establishment and cross border transfer within the European Union.
Vera holds a Master’s degree in Law from Masaryk University in the Czech Republic and completed postgraduate degree LL.M. in European Legal studies under the Jean Monnet Lehrstuhl in Germany. Her final thesis was on obstacles to the free movement of persons within the EU concerning transfers of football players. She is a member of the Young European Federalist organization and European Law Students Organization.
Vera can communicate in three languages. Her mother tongue is Czech and she is also fluent in English and German.