About Us

We are a movement of people walking with a limp, from different walks of life. There is no us or them, no beneficiary or benefactor. Each of us is both.

Justice Defenders crowd smiling laughing
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Our Story

Founded in 2007 as African Prisons Project, Justice Defenders is a registered UK charity and U.S. nonprofit with nearly 350 people working across four African countries.  

Some of us are free and some imprisoned. Some are poor in spirit and some just poor. We find value in serving others and showing mercy. We’re people who’ve fallen from the law and been captured by grace. Given our histories, we know that without grace, we are nothing. 

SEE HOW IT STARTED →
Justice Defenders people smiling
Prisoners in Kamiti Prison, Kenya.
Our Values

Bravery

We courageously act for a new and better world.

We seek to do what hasn’t been done before, or that which we haven’t done before. We act bravely, take risks, and move forward to a preferred future. One where justice is accessible, reliable, and can be practised best by those who need it most.  

Humility

We’re servants, sinners, and saints.

We aspire to be servant lawyers. We recognise that the law can help us gain power and wealth. But we choose to give away some of those things, so we may step towards those on the margins of society. We have very little to offer but everything to give. 

Solidarity

We’re building bridges in adversarial justice systems.

We value radical kinship, within our community and in partnership with other agencies. We are seeking allies out of adversaries, who will drive us forward with the hope of a better future, without being limited by our past. 

Justice Defenders Alexander Mclean
OUR FOUNDER

Alexander McLean

Alexander is the Founder and Director General of Justice Defenders. He is passionate about justice, having trained as a barrister and magistrate. During gap year travels to East Africa, McLean fundraised to provide better health facilities and educate Ugandan inmates about the law. After graduating from the University of Nottingham in 2007, he moved to Kampala, where he created a team of local and international staff and volunteers to develop the work of the African Prisons Project.

He is a Senior TED Fellow, Ashoka Fellow and UK Young Philanthropist of the Year. He appears in TIME’s 30 Under 30 Changing the World and ‘The Power List’, featuring Britain's most influential people of African and African-Caribbean heritage.

TEAM SPOTLIGHTS
Andrea Ocampo
Andrea Ocampo
Fundraising Manager
John Bosco
John Bosco
Assistant Legal Officer
Karen Saidi
Karen Saidi
Country Director – Uganda
Matteo Cassini
Matteo Cassini
Community Development Manager
Miriam Wachira
Miriam Wachira
Country Director – Kenya
Morris Kaberia
Morris Kaberia
Legal Officer
Rahab Nyawira
Rahab Nyawira
Legal Aid Support Officer
Thomas Gill
Thomas Gill
Chief Operations Officer
William Okumu
William Okumu
Legal Officer
Our Partners

In the spirit of solidarity and radical inclusion.

Lives are lost waiting for justice to arrive. We accelerate progress alongside governments, NGOs, national prison services, funders, the judiciary, universities, and the wider legal fraternity.

Our Board & PatronS
Nick Johnson
African Legal Systems - UK Board, Kenya Board, US Board
James Holt
The Office of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex - UK Board
Trevor Dighton
Retired FTSE 100 CFO - UK Board, Kenya Board, US Board
David Hollow
Jigsaw Consult - UK Board
George Daly
Professor of Law - UK Board
Sally Cook
Solicitor - UK Board
Tim Johnston
Brick Court Chambers - UK Board
Toby Brown
South Square - US Board
The Hon. Dame Linda Dobbs DBE
High Court Judge - Patron
The Right Hon. Lord Ramsbotham
Chief Inspector of Prisons - Patron
The Right Hon. Lord Boateng
Member of Parliament - Patron
The Right Rev'd Rose Hudson-Wilkin
Bishop of Dover - Patron
Jon Snow
Channel 4 News - Patron
Luis Franceschi
The Commonwealth - Kenya Board
Dr. Anne Merriman
Anne Merriman Foundation - UK Board
Terry Mwango
Bowmans, Coulson Harney LLP - Kenya Board
Jonathan Price
FCSI, Business and Corporate Law - UK Board