Alex Carlile was born in Wales in 1948. After education at Epsom College he graduated LLB AKC at King’s College London.
He was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn in 1970. He became a Q.C. at the age of 36 and is a Bencher of Gray’s Inn. Lord Carlile sits as a Recorder of the Crown Court, as a Deputy High Court Judge, and as a Chairman of the Competition Appeal Tribunal. He was until 2009 the Honorary Recorder of Hereford and has been the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation since 2001. He is the President of the Howard League for Penal Reform, a Fellow of King’s College London, and a Fellow of the Industry and Parliament Trust.
Lord Carlile holds an Honorary Doctorate of Laws. From 1983-1997 he was the Liberal then Liberal Democrat MP for Montgomeryshire in Mid Wales. During that time he served spokesperson on a range of issues, including Home Affairs and the Law. He was Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats from 1992-7. Lord Alex Carlile was a leading proponent in the House of Commons of the War Crimes Act, and a founding officer of the All-Party War Crimes Group. He was appointed a Life Peer in 1999, and takes the Liberal Democrat Whip.
Alex Carlile until 2007 was Head of Chambers (Chairman) of one of the largest sets of barristers’ chambers in London, 9-12 Bell Yard. He specialises in the civil and criminal aspects of commercial fraud, and other serious crime. His best known criminal case was the defence of Paul Burrell, butler to the late Diana Princess of Wales. He appeared with success in the Morecambe Bay cocklers’ case, for a Liverpool fish merchant. Recently he appeared in the largest fraud case taken so far by the SFO; and in the trial arising from the eventual acquittal of Murder of the Cardiff Three.
Lord Carlile is involved in numerous charities, including the Royal Medical Foundation of Epsom College, and STOP (People Trafficking) UK. He has a particular interest in mental health issues, and was a co-founder of the Welsh charity Rekindle. He chaired the Select Committee of both Houses of Parliament on recent mental health legislation and is President of The Howard League for Penal Reform; and of The Security Institute.
He was the author of Too Serious a Thing, a report published in 2002 on the safety of children in the NHS. His major report for the Howard League on the use of restraints on children in custody was published in February 2006. He is a non-executive director of a listed major agricultural merchanting company, Wynnstay Group plc.He has 3 children and several grandchildren, and lives in Central London with his wife, barrister Alison Levitt Q.C., who is Principal Legal Advisor to the Crown Prosecution Service.