Sharmishta "Shami" Chakrabarti is, since September 2003, the director of Liberty, the British civil liberties advocacy organisation and, since July 2008, the Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University. In September 2014, she took up the role as Chancellor of the University of Essex.
Shami first joined Liberty as In-House Counsel on September 10, 2001. She became heavily involved in its engagement with the 'War on Terror' and with the defense and promotion of human rights values in Parliament, the Courts and wider society.
A Barrister by background, she was called to the Bar in 1994 and worked as a lawyer in the Home Office from 1996 until 2001 for Governments of both persuasions.
Since becoming Liberty’s Director she has written, spoken and broadcast widely on the importance of the post-WW2 human rights framework as an essential component of democratic society.
She was born in London and studied Law at the London School of Economics. Shami, who divorced in 2014, lives in London with her son. She is Chancellor of Essex University and a Master of the Bench of Middle Temple.
In 2011, Shami was invited to be one of six independent assessors advising Lord Justice Leveson in his Public Inquiry into the Culture, Practice and Ethics of the UK Press. She was also chosen as one of eight Olympic Flag carriers at the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony. In February 2014, she was appointed as Honorary Professor of Law at the University of Manchester.
Shami's first book, On Liberty, was published by Allen Lane in October of 2014.