Staff & Fellows

Ariane Adam - Head of Legal and Programmes

Ariane Adam joined the Equal Rights Trust in November 2019 as Head of Legal and Programmes. She leads the Trust’s programme of support to lawyers undertaking strategic litigation and providing legal services, and the implementation of the Trust’s own body of strategic litigation through intervention in international and regional cases. Ariane also leads the organisation’s legal research work on the rights to equality and non-discrimination and their role in the realisation of other human rights and development, and provides expert legal support and input to the Trust’s advocacy programme.

Ariane is a qualified barrister in England and Wales, having been called to the Bar by Middle Temple in 2011 and completed pupillage at 1MCB Chambers in 2013, where she remains an associate member. She is an experienced practitioner with a specialism in discrimination and human rights claims. She has also led research and advocacy initiatives for a number of international human rights organisations, including Reprieve and Amnesty International.

Ariane holds a BA in Philosophy from UCL and an MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics. She completed the Graduate Diploma in Law and the Bar Professional Training Course at BPP Law School.

Sam Barnes - Legal and Programmes Officer

Sam Barnes joined the Equal Rights Trust as Legal and Programmes Assistant in October 2018, having previously interned and consulted at the Trust. He supports the delivery of the Trusts programmatic work and helps coordinate the implementation of a number of the Trust’s international projects.

Prior to joining ERT, Sam gained experience in public, constitutional and human rights law, working on research and advocacy projects with the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law and the Human Dignity Trust, alongside voluntary work advising clients at Citizens Advice.

Sam holds an LLM from the University of Cambridge, and an LLB from the University of Hull, where he was the recipient of the Sweet and Maxwell Law prize.

Jim Fitzgerald - Director

Jim Fitzgerald is the Director of the Equal Rights Trust. Working closely with our Board of Trustees, He has overall responsibility for the organisation’s strategy, programmes, projects and operations. 

Jim joined the Trust in 2009 and has since played a central role in the development of our work. Between 2009 and 2016, he established and led our advocacy programme and our work in supporting equality movements. He established partnerships in dozens of countries, supporting civil society actors to combat discrimination and advocate for equality law reform. In 2016, alongside Joanna Whiteman, Jim was appointed as one of the Trust’s two Co-Directors. Between 2016 and 2019, Jim and Joanna led an organisation-wide drive to improve the Trust’s effectiveness, impact and responsiveness to the needs of our partners and to develop our five-year strategy, focused on supporting and empowering equality defenders.  

Jim has advocated on a wide range of equality issues at both the domestic and international level and has supported successful advocacy initiatives by the organisation’s partners in countries ranging from Kenya to Ukraine. He has helped to establish or support equality coalitions on four different continents and has trained many hundreds of civil society actors on how to document discrimination and undertake advocacy on equality issues.

Jim has a background in political advocacy and communications. Prior to joining the Trust, he spent four years working for the Liberal Democrats in a variety of roles in campaigns, parliament and local authorities. Jim holds an LLB from the University of Sheffield.

Nicolás Forero-Villarreal - Fellow

Nicolás Forero-Villarreal joined the Equal Rights Trust in November of 2020 as Bob Hepple Equality Law Fellow to support the organisation's legal research work. 

Nicolás is an attorney at law in Colombia, a past recipient of the Open Society Internship for Human Rights and Governance Grant (OSIRG) and a former Global Established Multidisciplinary Sites Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Nicolás worked for two years at the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, where he led several initiatives to protect migrant children. As a researcher he has conducted field work in Latin America and Europe and participated in several projects on migrant’s rights and the intersection of gender and disarmament. He recently completed a comparative study on unaccompanied child migrants and is working on a global independent project supported by OSF to develop guidelines for judges and attorneys in Latin America that are involved in cases of international child abductions, to introduce legal tools that guarantee that domestic violence will not be overlooked in these proceedings. Alongside his work for the Trust, Nicolás serves as an intern at the Protection Policy and Legal Advice team of the Division of International Protection at UNHCR.

Nicolás holds an MA in International Affairs from the School of Advanced Intranational Studies at Johns Hopkins University, an Ll.M in international law and LL.B from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia.

Ellie McDonald - Advocacy and Programmes Officer

Ellie McDonald joined the Equal Rights Trust in April 2020 as the Advocacy and Programmes Officer. Ellie supports the delivery of several of the Trust’s international projects, with a particular focus on advocacy and supporting equality defenders.

Prior to joining the Trust, Ellie has worked in policy, advocacy and programmatic roles, most recently in the law and policy programme at ARTICLE 19. Ellie has a passion for integrated campaigning, having previously worked in movement-building for coalitions of international development and child rights organisations, and trade unions.

Ellie holds a BA in History from UCL, and an MA in Human Rights from the School of Advanced Study, University of London, where she was the recipient of the Albie Sachs award for best dissertation and the Coffin Fund for Promising Students Studentship.

Margaret Muga - Fellow

Margaret Muga is a recipient of the Bob Hepple Equality Law Fellowship and joined the Equal Rights Trust in November 2020. She supports the organization’s legal research work on the right to equality and non-discrimination and their role in the realization of other human rights and development.

Margaret graduated in December 2019 and holds an LLB from Moi University in Kenya. She is awaiting her call to the Bar to become an Advocate upon completion of the Advocates Training Program at the Kenya School of Law.

Margaret has special interest in researching the impact of corruption on sustainable development. 

Lucy Peace Nantume - Fellow

Lucy Peace Nantume joined the Equal Rights Trust in November 2020 among the pioneer Bob Hepple Equality Law Fellows. She is a lawyer and human rights practitioner based in Uganda. 

Alongside her research work for the Trust, Lucy manages grants to organisations implementing projects aimed at upholding human rights and gender equality in Uganda as a Program Manager for the Democratic Governance Facility. Previously, she worked with the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative where she led the implementation of several human rights projects in Uganda. She is experienced in advocating before human rights mechanisms, including the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Lucy holds a Master of Laws, a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice, and a Bachelor of Laws. 

Kritika Vohra - Fellow

Kritika Vohra joined the Equal Rights Trust in November 2020 as a Bob Hepple Equality Law Fellow. Her research interests include public law and theory, constitutional politics, gender, and ethics. As a Fellow at ERT, Kritika primarily supports the organisation’s work on the development and application of comprehensive anti-discrimination laws.

Kritika holds an LL.M. from Harvard Law School and an LL.B. from the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. Prior to her time at Harvard, she completed a Training Contract at Herbert Smith Freehills, London, where she gained litigation experience and played a leading role in the firm's collaboration with IDIA - a charity in India that empowers students from underrepresented and disadvantaged communities by making legal education more accessible.

Kate Wickens - Finance Manager

Kate Wickens joined the Trust in July 2018. She is responsible for all the Trust’s financial activities, as well as supporting its grant management and compliance functions.

Prior to joining the Trust, Kate worked in various finance roles including Finance Manager at Soho Theatre. Kate holds a BA in Drama from the University of Hull.