Thursday 03 May 2012 by Catherine Baksi
Roger Smith, the director of human rights group Justice, has announced that he is to stand down at the end of October after 11 years in the job.
Smith, a solicitor and Gazette columnist, said he intends to do more journalism and work on a book to be titled Stop Worrying and Learn to Love Human Rights. His Gazette column will continue.
He will also be carrying out research looking at the role played by websites and telephone hotlines in providing people with legal advice.
The work has been triggered by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, which removes legal aid for many areas of law and proposes a mandatory telephone gateway for anyone seeking civil legal aid.
Justice will now set about looking to find his successor, who Smith says must combine two different skill sets: 'The ability to raise money and manage, and to be a public figure and take a policy line.'
Smith has been director of Justice since 2001. Before that he was director of the Legal Action Group for 10 years.
After training at City firm Allen & Overy, he has worked at Camden Community Law Centre; been the director of West Hampstead Law Centre; solicitor to the Child Poverty Action Group; and director of legal education and training at the Law Society.
He writes widely on legal matters and is a visiting professor at the University of London South Bank.