A judging panel chaired by Michael Mansfield QC has selected 28 finalists for the 10th anniversary Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards.
Those shortlisted for a LALY award include:
- Raj Chada (Hodge Jones & Allen) who acted for ‘Jonnie Marbles’, the man who attacked Rupert Murdoch with a foam pie during a parliamentary hearing; and also won acquittals for protestors who staged a peaceful ‘sit-in’ at Fortnum & Mason during the 2011 TUC demonstration.
- Public Interest Lawyers, the Birmingham-based firm known for its groundbreaking work challenging human rights abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan. Roger Smith, director of Justice, said the firm had used legal aid to ‘achieve constitutional change as well as an effective result for their own clients’.
- Liz Barratt (Bindmans) whose work challenging the removal of children led to the suspension of child returns from the UK. Her nomination was supported by a former asylum client who has gone on to train as a social worker.
- Julian Hayes who acted in the so-called ‘Ricin Plot Trial’, the first major terror trial in this country post 9/11, which resulted in the acquittal of four of the five defendants.
- Tunde Okewale (Doughty Street) who founded urbanlawyers.co.uk, an organisation that aims to educate young people about the criminal law and their rights.
- Razia Jogi (Switalskis) who works with domestic violence and forced marriage victims. One barrister said: ‘Razia sees her role not just as a lawyer in the academic sense but as someone who is there to cajole, encourage and foster hope in those who can see no end to their suffering.’
The winners will be announced and presented with their awards by Michael Mansfield at a ceremony in central London on 12 June. The 11 LALY judges selected finalists in nine award categories after reading over 1,000 pages of nominations. They will also be making an award for Outstanding Achievement. The LALYs, which were launched in 2003, are the only awards aimed solely at those doing legal aid work. They are organised by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group on a not-for-profit basis.
LAPG director Carol Storer said: ‘The judges had such a difficult job to do because the nominations in all categories were terrific. We congratulate everyone on the shortlist. Like so many legal aid lawyers they work flat out for their clients.’
The LALY judges were:
- Michael Mansfield QC (chair)
- Lord Justice Andrew McFarlane
- Doreen Lawrence, OBE, Stephen Lawrence Trust
- Jenny Beck, co-chair, LAPG
- Fiona Bawdon, freelance legal affairs journalist
- Maya Wolfe Robinson, Guardian Law
- Rob Brown, partner, Corker Binning
- Jawaid Luqmani, partner, Luqmani Thompson
- Debo Nwauzu, director Black Lawyers Directory
- Vicky Ling, Partnership Quality Systems
- Julie Burton, Julie Burton Law
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