Brikena is a London-based barrister and founder of BALA. She has several years of experience of working as a defence lawyer for the Government Legal Department in London. She also has experience of working at the Bar in both civil and crime. Brikena is originally from Kosovo and is the first Albanian woman to qualify as a Barrister in the UK.
Brikena is passionate about her BALA work and is also involved in promoting the rights of the Albanian Diaspora through her work in Albania and Kosovo. Her profile featured in a book titled 'Britain's 100 Albanians', which was published in London in celebration of Albania's 100th independence anniversary.
Brikena is the first recipient of the newly created 'Ambassador of the Nation' Award from the Albanian Government, which she received in 2019 in recognition of her community work.
Brikena was appointed by the Albanian Government in April 2019 on Albania’s Diaspora Coordinative Council, a newly created body consisting of 15 Albanian Diaspora members who represent the Albanian Diaspora across the globe. The roles of the Council include promoting the interests of the Albanian Diaspora and working with the key figures of the Albanian Government, including the President and the Prime Minister, on strategies and policies relating to the Albanian Diaspora.
Brikena is also Chair of Trustees of I Can Be, which is a British charity focused on bringing down barriers to opportunity for children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
During her undergraduate degree in Law at Brunel University, Fortesa undertook a one-year work placement in a criminal defence firm in Tottenham, London.
She then graduated in 2012 and went on to complete her Legal Practice Course at the University of Law in Bloomsbury, London.
Fortesa subsequently completed her training contract initially at the same criminal defence firm but then also at LMK Law, and successfully qualified as a solicitor in 2015. She previously worked at Kerman & Co, with a variety of domestic and international clients - including companies, entrepreneurs, investors, developers, landowners as well as private individuals - on a wide range of transactions. She carried out all types of property transactions, both residential and commercial, acting on behalf of both landlords and tenants. Being part of the Private Wealth Management department, Fortesa helped wealth owners and their families to protect, grow and pass on their personal and business wealth.
She now works at Devonshires in the Securitisation department, acting for Registered Providers of social housing in charging large scale portfolio of properties under loan facilities of amounts varying from £1 million to £450 million, including advising clients on what properties lenders consider as being suitable and unsuitable for charging.
Having graduated in Law (LL.B.) at the University of Kent in 2012, Alban went on to complete his Bar Professional Training Course at BPP Law School, London and was Called to the Bar by the Honourable Society of Inner Temple in 2013. From 2013 to 2016 Alban worked in a bank and as a County Court Advocate, as well completing his Masters (LL.M.) in Professional Legal Practice. Alban then joined a common law set of chambers as a pupil in July 2016 and after successfully completing his pupillage he became a tenant in July 2017.
While in chambers, his practice as a barrister in Central London consisted of a combination of criminal and civil law. In his second six he represented in a number of cases in the magistrates’ court instructed by multiple law firms. As his pupillage progressed, Alban received instructions for matters in the Crown Court, representing clients in pre-trial matters and sentencing appeals. Towards the end of his pupillage and the start of his tenancy, Alban has been instructed in civil proceedings, appeals against convictions and several trials.
Alban is now a sole practitioner barrister, practising under his own name. Throughout his tenancy and in his current capacity, Alban's workload now includes a variety of cases ranging from criminal matters such as assault offences, dishonesty offences, driving offences – as well as civil matters, including: landlord and tenant disputes, injunctions, part 36 offers and trials.
Alban speaks English and Albanian fluently and his interests are football and snooker. His financial experience encouraged him to take up the role as Treasurer for BALA.
Merita Stublla Emini is a highly respected Kosovo-based lawyer and an active member of the Kosovo Bar Association. She served as Chair of the Kosovo Bar Association for Prishtina and currently serves as Chair of the Ethics and Disciplinary System Committee at the Kosovo Bar Association since November 2020.
She runs her own law office in Prishtina and works in both civil and criminal matters. In addition to her legal practice, she has a number of years of experience working as a consultant for international organisations on projects that aim to strengthen and reform Kosovo’s justice system. She worked on the ‘Civil Rights Project’ of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Kosovo and as a Rule of Law advisor for the United States Agency for International Development in Kosovo.
Merita is also an arbitrator at the American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo and has served on committees promoting gender equality and supporting civil society organisations.
Diana is a Senior Associate and Notary Public in Hill Dickinson’s shipping, corporate and commercial team in London.
She advises clients on a variety of corporate related matters, including corporate, commercial contracts, ship finance, ship sale and acquisitions, partnership agreements, finance related agreements, commodity contracts, charity law governance and private equity.
Diana also works very closely with the Shipping and Commodities teams within Hill Dickinson providing corporate and commercial support in cross-jurisdiction commodity related matters.
Artan is a highly regarded commercial property lawyer specialising in work including acquisitions, disposals, general property management, real estate support for secured lending matters and the property due diligence aspects of corporate transactions.
Artanís experience includes advising both UK and overseas investors and companies across a broad range of sectors including office, retail, leisure and manufacturing.
Artan is also the head of the UK Albanian Businesses Association and a member of the managing board of the UK Albanian Professionals Network.
Steven Powles QC
Steven Powles is a barrister and Head of Doughty Street International.
He specializes in crime, extradition and human rights. He is a specialist in international crime and has appeared at many of the world’s international criminal courts and tribunals.
He represented former member of the KLA, Isak Musliu, at proceedings before the ICTY in The Hague from 2003 to 2006. In 1999 Steven worked in Kosovo with the International Crisis Group investigating war crimes committed during conflict.
Steven is based in both London and The Hague.