Imran Khan had only been a solicitor for 18 months when he took on one of the landmark cases in British history, the Stephen Lawrence case, one which propelled him onto a national and international stage. The long-drawn legal battle transformed the landscape of race relations in Britain, defining the carer of Imran in the process.
The reverberations of the black London teenager’s murder in 1993 are still felt today. The case was Britain’s first private prosecution for a racist murder and the fourth ever private prosecution for murder. It changed the law on double jeopardy and shone an unflattering light on police corruption and institutional racism, as a result of the public inquiry led by Sir William Macpherson. The 70 recommendations in the Macpherson report (1999) have become the basis for a cultural change in attitudes towards racism and the police.
Imran went on to become one of the most highly regarded human rights lawyers in the country, representing high profiles cases like the murders of Victoria Climbié, an eight-year-old Ivorian girl and Zahid Mubarek, a British Asian teenager killed by his cellmate at the Feltham Young Offenders’ Institution in London. Both cases led to public inquiries and in the former produced major changes in child protection policies and in the latter, shed light on racism and the failures of the Prison Service.
In 2000, Imran set up Imran Khan & Partners based in Holborn, central London handling predominantly what he calls ‘impact cases’ – the cases which make impact not only for the individual clients but also affect the wider population too. He regards such cases an inventive way to change the law and society.
And, he does not confine his battles to court-rooms. Imran has been a member of numerous anti-racist groups and campaigns, including the National Civil Rights Movement set up in the aftermath of the Stephen Lawrence