2015 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards – Shortlist Announced

2015 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards – Shortlist Announced

Finalists in this year’s LAPG LALY awards include Marcia Willis-Stewart, the solicitor acting for the family of Mark Duggan; and Rebecca Stevens, who was praised by the President of the Family Division after doing 100 hours unpaid work for a father who didn’t qualify for legal aid.

Marcia Willis-Stewart, managing partner of Birnberg Peirce, is among four finalists for the inaugural public law LALY award (see full list below).

Marcia acted for the family during the inquest into the police shooting of Mark Duggan, whose killing sparked the 2011 riots. She is also acting for 75 Hillsborough victims, and represented the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian electrician shot dead by police in 2005, the day after the failed 21 July tube bombings.

Rebecca Stevens, of Withy King in Bath, is a finalist for the family LALY award. In 2014, an adoption case she was working on made national headlines, because the father, who had learning difficulties, did not qualify for legal aid. Rebecca was praised by Sir James Munby for having shown ‘devotion…far above and beyond the call of duty’ for acting for him unpaid to ensure his interests were protected.

Finalists for the new children’s rights award are: Noel Arnold, of Coram Children’s Legal Centre; Charlotte Image, Wainwright & Cummins; Rachel Knowles, Just for Kids Law; and Zubier Yazdani, Deighton Pierce Glynn.

Also new for 2015, is the access to justice through IT award, sponsored by the Legal Education Foundation (see below).

The LALYs are organised by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, and are into their 13th year.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony in central London on 1 July 2015.

The ceremony will also see presentation of the LAPG Special Award which has been made to leading figures within the Criminal Law Solicitors Association and London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association. Robin Murray, Bill Waddington, Jon Black and Paul Harris will be honoured by the LAPG committee for their tireless work on behalf of the profession campaigning against government reforms to criminal contracting.

This is only the second time the LAPG committee has made such an award. In 2012, Doreen Lawrence was honoured in recognition of her campaign for justice for her son, Stephen. (For more details on LAPG Special Award, see separate release.)

For more information, contact Carol Storer, LAPG director: 020 7833 7431; 07801 593963; carol.storer@lapg.co.uk
Fiona Bawdon, LALY co-ordinator: Fiona.bawdon@blueyonder.co.uk; 07740 644474


  1. Children’s rights (sponsored by Accesspoint)
    Noel Arnold (Coram Children’s Legal Centre)
    Charlotte Image (Wainwright & Cummins)
    Rachel Knowles (Just for Kids Law)
    Zubier Yazdani (Deighton Pierce Glynn)
  2. Criminal defence (sponsored by CILEx)
    Mark Ashford (TV Edwards)
    Jenny Durham (Swain & Co)
    Umar Zeb (JD Spicer Zeb)
  3. Family legal aid (Sponsored by Resolution)
    Sarah Cove (Miles & Partners)
    Sarah Miller (Tozers)
    Rebecca Stevens (Withy King)
  4. Family mediation (sponsored by Resolution)
    Denise Ingamells (TV Edwards)
    Margaret Pendlebury (MiD Mediation)
    Tracy Winstanley (Heaney Watson)
  5. Housing (sponsored by Irwin Mitchell)
    Jayesh Kunwardia (Hodge Jones & Allen)
    Parminder Sanghera (Community Law Partnership)
    Sara Stevens (Anthony Gold)
  6. Public law (Sponsored by DG Legal)
    Roopa Tanna (Islington Law Centre)
    Stefan Vnuk (Lawrence Lupin)
    Marcia Willis Stewart (Birnberg Peirce)
    Louise Whitfield (Deighton Pierce Glynn)
  7. Social and Welfare (sponsored by Tikit)
    Lisa Haythorne (Derbyshire Law Centre)
    Jo Renshaw (Turpin & Miller)
    Michael Spencer (Child Poverty Action Group)
  8. Legal aid newcomer (sponsored by Anglia DNA)
    Emma Cordock (AFG Law)
    Connor Johnston (Garden Court Chambers)
    Aisling Ni-Chuinn (Wilsons)
  9. Legal aid barrister (sponsored by Bar Council)
    Ian Brownhill (No 5 Chambers)
    Ranjiv Khubber (1 Pump Court)
    Alison Pickup (Doughty Street)
  10. Legal aid firm/not-for-profit agency (sponsored by Law Society)
    A & N Care, Sheffield
    Central England Law Centre, Coventry and Birmingham
    Deighton Pierce Glynn, London
    Edwards Duthie, London and Essex
  11. Access to Justice through IT (sponsored by Legal Education Foundation)
    CourtNav (Royal Courts of Justice Advice Bureau & Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer) www.courtnav.org.uk
    Fisher Jones Greenwood
    Rightsnet (LASA) www.rightsnet.org.uk
    Road Traffic Representation www.roadtrafficrepresentation.com
  12. Outstanding achievement (sponsored by Matrix Legal Aid Link)
    The judges will also be making an award for Outstanding achievement

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