Arriving at court with Julian Assange’s girlfriend today, London’s lawyer du jour prepares for battle in the WikiLeaks founder’s latest extradition hearing.
Jennifer Robinson is the go-to barrister for the rich and famous, most recently walking hand in hand with actress Amber Heard in her showdown against her ex-husband Johnny Depp in his acrimonious libel trial.
She counts the Hollywood elite among her inner circle, acting as Amal Clooney’s bridesmaid and travelling to her wedding to George on a speedboat with actor Bill Murray.
A self-confessed Kyle Minogue fan, who has ‘nothing in her fridge but Champagne’ , the human rights lawyer once set headlines alight after she was spotted canoodling with Jeremy Corbyn’s former spin doctor, Seumas Milne.
Ms Robinson, 39, and Mr Milne – a then-married father-of-two – were photographed embracing on the terrace of the Courthouse hotel in East London in 2017.
Ms Robinson has been known to use her social media as an outlet to criticise the Tories on their human rights record and tweet support for Corbyn.
One of the country’s brightest legal minds, her skilled advocacy is now being pitted against US prosecutors as Assange fights extradition.
Australian human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson, left, with Stella Moris, right, the partner Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, outside the Old Bailey today
Team Heard: The top lawyer was an observer in Heard’s case, which saw Depp hit with 14 allegations of domestic violence, claims he defending during the three days of testimony
In 2014, the 39-year-old was carried to the Clooneys’ star-studded Venetian wedding in a boat with Bill Murray and asked to carry out bridesmaid’s duties
In 2017, she was seen canoodling with Jeremy Corbyn’s former henchman Seumas Milne, who married at the time
Ms Robinson, who works from the respected Doughty Chambers in London, has represented Assange for some 10 years.
In 2019, she was named international pro bono barrister of the year and prior to lockdown, was pictured at events with Prince Charles and Cherie Blair.
Most recently she made international headlines standing as Amber Heard’s barrister during the Johnny Depp’s libel case against The Sun newspaper in London in July.
Ms Robinson grew up in the small town of Berry, NSW, Australia and graduated with a double degree in law and Asian studies from the Australian National University.
She went on to become a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, attending Balliol College and graduating with a Bachelor of Civil Law with Distinction and a Master of Philosophy in International Public Law.
She previously worked at London law firm Finers Stephens Innocent LLP, where her practice was largely media defence, freedom of information and free speech litigation, acting for clients such as the New York Times, CNN, Associated Press and Bloomberg.
Her current firm was founded by another Australian-born ex-Rhodes Scholar Geoffrey Robertson QC, with whom she has worked with for more than six years and has tackled issues including arguing for an Australian Bill of Rights.
She also provided international human rights advice, including on humanitarian issues in post-conflict Iraq, extraordinary rendition and international criminal law.
It is through this line of work that she is understood to have become friends with Amal Clooney.
Ms Robinson came from humble beginnings in the small village Berry, south of Sydney, where her father works as a horse trainer.
She has become one of the UK’s highest profile human rights and media lawyers, working in the practice established by Geoffrey Robertson.
Ms Robinson, arriving at court today, has become one of the UK’s highest profile human rights and media lawyers, working in the practice established by Geoffrey Robertson
Ms Robinson (centre) was pictured accompanying Johnny Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard (second from the right) into the High Court in London on July 9. Ms Heard was also joined by her partner Bianca Butti (left) and her sister Whitney (top left)
Ms Robinson (centre, with Amber Heard, left, and Cherie Blair, right (in September 2019) as she took the case of Marsha Lazareva – imprisoned in Kuwait for over a year on false charges – to the United Nations
‘I am proud that women from my chambers, like Jennifer and Amal Clooney, are proving that young women can rise high in the law and overcome the bars and sexism in what used to be a male-dominated profession,’ Mr Robertson told News Corp in July.
‘She is quite brilliant and has assisted me on those important cases and has done very well and is having a successful career working at my Chambers.
‘She has represented the West Papua independent movement and other human rights causes.’
Ms Robinson has appeared at the International Court of Justice and given expert evidence at the UN and in Parliament.
Her areas of expertise are free speech and civil liberties, and she regularly advises newspapers on media law.
In 2014, the 39-year-old was carried to the Clooneys’ star-studded Venetian wedding in a boat with Bill Murray and asked to carry out bridesmaid’s duties.
In 2017, she was seen canoodling with Jeremy Corbyn’s former henchman Seumas Milne – with her father later telling MailOnline that his daughter was just enjoying a night out and a ‘few drinks’ with a friend.
Her father, Terry, insisted his daughter was a ‘good girl’ who has been in a ‘few relationships’ but dismissed suggestions that she was having an affair with the married father-of-two.
In 2011 she gave an interview about her private life and described herself as ‘passionate’ and ‘infinitely curious’, and said: ‘My friends would probably add, ”the eternal optimist” or ”a bit bonkers”.’
When asked about her favourite music she said: ‘I still love Kylie Minogue – this began at age five and persists today’.
Ms Robinson (right) has worked on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s legal team since October 2010 and is best friends with Amal Clooney – pictured right in the background
And responding to a question about the contents of her London fridge she said: ‘Nothing but a few bottles of champagne (and maybe a mouldy piece of cheese)’ because she so rarely eats at home.
She was also asked: ‘What comes into your mind when you shut your eyes and think of the word ‘law’?’ and replied: ‘Jude’ – a reference to the British actor.
She told the Global Mail: ‘I can be very serious but I was being flip, taking the p***. I take my work very seriously but me less so. I am Australian, after all, and proudly so.’
While one of her brothers lives in the UK working in horse racing, the rest of her family is largely in Australia, where she has returned to lecture on law and mentor students.
Jill Appleton, her headteacher at Bomaderry High School, around two hours from Canberra, said that she was ‘a lovely girl’ who was named the Berry Showgirl in 2000.
Organisers insist it is not a beauty pageant and say it finds young women to act as an ‘ambassador’ for the area in state and national show.
Participants are asked to present prizes to wood chopping finalists, sash livestock, are interviewed and must present to judges and attend a formal lunch where they are judged on table manners, dress sense and conversational skills.
Mrs Appleton told the South Coast Register that her success showed ‘the sky’s the limit’ for pupils.
She said: ‘It shows you can attend a public high school, and go on to become a Rhodes Scholar and achieve great things in your life.’
Yesterday Assange, 49, lost a last-ditch legal bid to have his extradition case at the Old Bailey delayed further because of fresh ’11th hour’ allegations as his lawyers complained they were ‘abnormal and unfair’.
The activist faces 18 charges and a sentence of 175 years should a judge grant his extradition to the United States.
US prosecutors claim Assange recruited a teenager to hack into the computer of a former WikiLeaks associate and delete messages relating to him.
They claim that Assange, who appeared in court for his hearing today, met the then 17-year-old in 2010 in Iceland, who gave him data stolen from a bank.
According to an updated opening document, submitted by the US but not outlined by representatives in the Old Bailey on Monday, Assange later directed the teenager to target a former WikiLeaks associate.
Assange is also fighting the extradition on the basis he would likely receive a life sentence on conviction which would be ‘inhuman and degrading’ for someone ‘with his mental vulnerabilities’.
His team stated there was a risk Assange would take his own life if extradited.
Defence solicitors say Assange would be denied the right to a fair trial in the US and claim a trial would be a ‘flagrant violation’ of his right to protect journalistic sources.