Cherie Booth QC is a leading barrister specialising in public law, human rights, employment law, European Community law, arbitration and mediation. She has appeared in a number of leading cases both at home and abroad. She is also a noted speaker on human rights and a staunch supporter of women's rights.
Cherie studied law at the London School of Economics (LSE) and graduated with a First Class Degree. She was called to the Bar in 1976. Her fellow trainee at her first chambers was Tony Blair. The couple married in 1980 and have four children. Cherie became a Queens Counsel in 1995 and sits as a Recorder, as part-time judges are known, and is also an accredited mediator. In 2007, she was awarded the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill medal in recognition of her high ideals and courageous actions. Cherie also holds Honorary Degrees at the Open University and Liverpool Hope University.
In 2000, Cherie and 21 other prominent barristers set up a ground breaking legal practice, Matrix Chambers. They were looking to achieve a different working model from the traditional English Chambers and to break down the barriers between providers of legal services. With a focus on human rights and public law and an expanding scope into criminal, commercial and EU law, Matrix has quickly built an impressive reputation.
Cherie continues to work as a barrister both in Britain and internationally. She has appeared in the European Court of Justice, in Commonwealth countries and as an international arbitrator. She has also argued cases in the House of Lords, one of the most well known being the Begum case on whether a decision by a school to exclude a female pupil for wearing a full jilbab infringed her religious rights.
As well as fighting for human rights in her professional career, Cherie is an active campaigner on equality, human rights and diversity issues. She has spoken across the world on human rights, on equality, and on the need for policies to improve work/life balance for both women and men – an issue, as a working woman and mother, about which she feels passionately. Further, through her professional work and her time at Downing Street, Cherie has become involved in the work of many charities with a strong bias towards those working with children and women, and those based on Merseyside. Internationally she is Patron of the Asian University for Women, based in Bangladesh, for which she raises money across the world.
Cherie is also founder and patron of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, a charity that provides integrated business development support for women entrepreneurs in developing and transition countries. Launched in 2008, it was set up in response to Cherie’s experiences meeting women around the world and the realisation that, with the right support, women can overcome the challenges they face and play an important part in the economies and societies in which they work and live. The foundation partners with local organisations to support women in setting up and expanding their businesses – benefiting not only the women themselves but also their families and communities.
Cherie’s autobiography, Speaking for Myself, was published in the UK and the Netherlands in May 2008, in the USA in October 2008, and in China in August 2009.