Joanna Evans is a strategic litigation expert who has been practising at domestic and international level for more than 20 years.
Her work is focused upon using the law to achieve systemic change for some of the most vulnerable in society and across the globe. In the course of her career, this has included acting for victims of enforced disappearances and their families; tackling violence against women and children at both individual and systemic level; supporting human rights defenders and journalists who are targeted for their work in repressive regimes and seeking to prevent or mitigate harm caused by climate change.
Joanna has a breadth of experience, which covers international human rights law, international criminal law and international humanitarian law. She is an experienced litigator and advisor. In addition to her home jurisdiction, she has lengthy experience in dealing with cases from jurisdictions as diverse as Rwanda; Democratic Republic of Congo; Russia; Turkey; Azerbaijan; Georgia and Iraq. Her caseload has included genocide; crimes against humanity and war crimes; mass enforced disappearances; extra-judicial killings and torture; gender based violence and death penalty litigation. Her current areas of practice focus particularly on addressing gender based violence and the impacts of climate change.
Joanna has represented hundreds of victims before the European Court of Human Rights. Her case work has also included the International Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Court, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the United Nations Committee on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances and the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
In addition to her litigation work, she has worked for and with civil society throughout her career. Positions have included legal advisor to the Women's Initiative for Gender Justice; International Justice Counsel for Human Rights Watch; Legal Director for the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre; Centre for Women’s Justice Legal Reference Panel and Strategic Litigation Expert for Minority Rights Group International. She regularly acts as an expert for a range of global organisations which has included the OSCE, the International Bar Association, the Council of Europe and the International Criminal Bar Association. She is listed as a leader in Civil Liberties in Legal 500. She holds a number of judicial appointments and has been sitting since 2009.
- "Joanna is a leader in the field in international human rights law. She is an outstanding and fearless advocate for victims of human rights violations." Legal 500 2023
- "Joanna is the mastermind when it comes to scrutinizing and dissecting evidence. She is also brilliant in putting the most challenging human rights arguments into a form that is pleasant to read and easy to digest." Legal 500 2022
- "A highly intelligent and extremely talented lawyer. She is meticulous in her preparation of cases and has a commanding knowledge of each case." Legal 500 2021
- "A highly experienced, dedicated and impressive human rights barrister." Legal 500
- “An outstanding lawyer, who strives tirelessly in the interests of her clients”. Legal 500
- Deputy District Judge 2009-present
- Recorder of the Crown Court 2012-present (also sitting in Family and Civil)
- Restricted Patients’ Panel of the Mental Health Tribunal 2015
- Expert international consultant to the Council of Europe Gender Equality Division in violence against women, domestic violence and gender equality
- Member of Centre for Women’s Justice Legal Reference Panel
- Institute for Addressing Strangulation, Expert Group
- Former Independent Member of the Parole Board 2010-2016
- ‘Gender mainstreaming at the European Court of Human Rights: The need for a coherent strategy in approaching cases of violence against women and domestic violence’ Inter American Law Review 2023
- ‘Council of Europe analysis of the legislative and policy framework in Azerbaijan in the field of violence against women and domestic violence’. [Raising Awareness of the Istanbul Convention and other gender equality standards in Azerbaijan. June 2022 Jointly with Mar Hermosilla Sierra
- Bridging the Gap: Addressing Impunity in Transitional States’ No Peace Without Justice publication, co-author with HHJ Sylvia de Bertodano and others.
- Contributor to ‘Oxford Companion to International Criminal Law and Justice’ (Oxford University Press 2008)