Daniel Leader > Leigh Day > London, England > Lawyer Profile

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Work Department

International department.


Dan Leader is a barrister and partner at Leigh Day with 20 years of litigation experience. He specialises in international human rights and environmental litigation with a particular focus on group actions by claimants from the developing world.  Dan has extensive experience of cases against parent companies, complex group actions and mass tort claims, as well as cross-border disputes and jurisdictional issues. 

His recent cases include:

  • Rihan v EY Global Ltd [2020].  A whistle-blowing claim on behalf of a former EY partner who refused to sanction a cover up of audit findings of money laundering and conflict minerals in the Dubai Gold trade.
  • Lungowe v Vedanta plc [2019] (with Martyn Day and Oliver Holland).  Claims on behalf of 1,826 Zambian farmers arising out of damage to the environment caused by harmful discharges from the Konkola copper mine.  The Supreme Court set out the jurisdictional principles in cross-border claims against parent companies.  
  • Okpabi v Royal Dutch Shell plc [2018].  Claims on behalf of two Nigerian communities arising from systemic oil pollution by Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary. 
    AAA v. Unilever plc [2018].  A case on behalf of 218 Kenyan tea workers who contend that Unilever failed to protect them from the foreseeable risk of ethnic violence in 2007. 
  • AAA v. Gemfields Ltd [2019]  A claim by 300 individuals for personal injury arising out of serious human rights abuses on and around a ruby mine in northern Mozambique.
  • The Bodo Community v. Shell Petroleum Development Company Ltd [2015] (with Martyn Day). A claim by a community of 30,000 Nigerians for compensation and remediation of their lands arising out of extensive oil spills in the Niger Delta which settled for £55m in 2015. 

Other cases include the “Mau Mau litigation” (Mutua v FCO [2013])  which resulted in reparations for 5,000 victims of colonial era torture at the hands of the British colonial authorities, the Baha Mousa Inquiry [2010] into torture by the British Army in Iraq and claims by UK residents detained in Guantanamo Bay against airlines for complicity in rendition (Binyan Mohamed v Jeppesen [2009]).  


Trained City University and Inns of Court School of Law; Research Assistant to Gordon Brown MP 1995-97; Programme Officer International Human Rights Law Group, Democratic Republic of Congo 1999-2001; Barrister, 36 Bedford Row, London, Chambers of Vasanti Selvaratnam QC 2001-08; Barrister and Partner, international department Leigh Day 2008 to date; external expert member of the UK Government Steering Board which oversees the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (2014-17); Advisory Board of the British Institute for International and Comparative Law’s Human Rights Due Diligence Forum


Fluent French, spoken and written.


The Bar Human Rights Committee; Administrative Law Bar Association; International Bar Association; Liberty; British Institute for International and Comparative Law.


Ipswich School, Ipswich; Oxford University (Politics, Philosophy and Economics, 1st class); City University, London (diploma in law); Gray’s Inn (Karmel Scholarship); The City University Prize; Inns of Court School of Law (BVC); Gray’s Inn (The William Shaw Award); University College London, LLM International Law (Distinction).  Called to the Bar 2001.

Lawyer Rankings

London > Public sector > Civil liberties and human rights

Described as ‘synonymous with human rights‘, the practice at Leigh Day stands at the forefront of civil liberties and acts in landmark cases pertaining to international human rights, sexual violence issues, actions against the state, and immigration mandates. Jamie Beagent oversees the group, which is skilled in undertaking a range of domestic human rights work and representing NGO’s. Core members of the group include Daniel Leader. who is experienced in complex multi-party actions; privacy law expert Sean Humber, and Rosa Curling. On the international side, co-head Richard Meeran and Sapna Malik are the key contacts for cross-border human rights matters; the team has a specialism in acting in international abuse cases that cut across the fields of personal injury and human rights issues. Founder and senior partner Martyn Day is also a recommended contact.