Alex Carlile was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn in 1970 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1984. He is a Bencher of Gray’s Inn. He sits as a Recorder of the Crown Court and as a Deputy High Court Judge. He was the Independent Reviewer of terrorism legislation from 2001 to 2011. He was until 2013 the President of the Howard League for Penal Reform. He is a fellow of King’s College, London, and a fellow of the Industry and Parliament Trust and holds British and foreign Honorary Doctorates of Law.
From 1983 to 1997, he was the Liberal then Liberal Democrat MP for Montgomeryshire in Mid Wales. During that time, he served as spokesperson on a range of issues, including home affairs and the law. He was leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats from 1992 to 1997. He was appointed a Life Peer in 1999 and takes the Liberal Democrat Whip. Until 2007, he was Head of Chambers at 9-12 Bell Yard.
He specialises in the civil and criminal aspects of commercial fraud and in the development of counter-terrorism legislation internationally. He is involved in numerous charities, including the Royal Medical Foundation of Epsom College and the White Ensign Association. He has a particular interest in mental health issues and was a co-founder of the Welsh charity Rekindle. He chaired the Select Committee of both Houses of Parliament on recent mental health legislation. His major report for the Howard League on the use of restraints on children in custody was published in February 2006. He is Vice Chairman of a listed agricultural merchanting company, Wynnstay Group Plc, and a founder and director of the strategic consultancy SC Strategy Ltd.