One of the world’s leading barristers has stepped in to defend four students who face being thrown out of university.

Geoffrey Robertson QC, who has notably represented Julian Assange, Salman Rushdie and Michael X, is offering his services to four students at the University of Sussex.

They face a disciplinary hearing at the Falmer Campus on Friday following their “persistent disruption” during a string of protests.


The students were suspended from studies in December – leading to a 9,000-plus signature petition of support and an early day motion in Parliament.

The protests, which date back to early 2013, concern the outsourcing of campus jobs.

Adriano Mérola Marotta, a masters student in Global Political Economy and chairman of the Postgraduate Association at the univesity,  is one of those facing the hearing.

He said: “Senior management are deliberately trying to make us feel unwelcome at an institution which I’ve always called home.

“How are we meant to feel part of a university that punishes students for protesting and excludes the campus community from participating in the decision-making processes?”

Mr Robertson QC is considered one of the most successful human rights barristers of all time.

Ever since qualifying in 1975, he has attracted big cases including that of The Guardian against Neil Hamilton MP, Mike Tyson versus the British Boxing Board of Control and Julian Assange in his extradition hearing from the UK.

He has also represented many news agencies including the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.

He will be joined by fellow QC Paul Bowen in defending the students.