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John Barker is a Fellow of the Centre and the founding Director of Cambridge Governance Labs, a research group focused on tracking and addressing the structural drivers of governance risk. He is a Fellow and former Vice-President of Hughes Hall and previously served as Chairman of the Foreign Compensation Commission, a tribunal that adjudicated post-war claims in support of the diplomatic protection functions of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. His principal areas of professional engagement have been international claims and promotion of the rule of law.

With professional experience in Africa spanning more than 30 years, he has worked with governments, international development agencies and non-governmental organisations on justice sector reform. He has advised the UNDP, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Commission, CIDA and DFID on rule of law, human rights and transitional justice. He has served on the board of several charities and is an advisor to Global Choices, an NGO working to protect the Arctic environment.