We are delighted to congratulate Gráinne Mellon and David Neale who have been shortlisted as finalists for the 2022 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards. Our warmest congratulations to both Gráinne and David for this outstanding achievement.
Gráinne Mellon is a finalist for Legal Aid Barrister of the Year. David Neale is a finalist in a new LALY award category, Legal Aid Support Staffer Award. He is the Garden Court Chambers Legal Researcher.
Gráinne is credited for her work on behalf of vulnerable children and young adults in education law, community care, Court of Protection and immigration law. She particularly represents children and young people in these areas including migrant children, disabled children and children who otherwise need support to protect and enforce their rights.
She has achieved excellent results this year on behalf of vulnerable clients including achieving six mandatory orders from the High Court for a vulnerable child without accommodation, education and the care that she needed. She also won a leading student finance and human rights case, which ensured that two young adults could continue with their education, and one of the first claims for damages under the Human Rights Act for “peer on peer” abuse brought on behalf of a very young boy. She has also acted for migrant children, including in a range of cases under the EU Settlement Scheme where they could not otherwise find a lawyer to help them, enlisting over 70 barristers to help her do so.
Gráinne is described by referees as an “outstanding barrister and leader in her field” who “has dedicated her career to working with the most vulnerable in society” and “combines the ability to deal with the most complex cases, whilst showing huge amounts of compassion and sensitivity towards her clients”.
Her lay client in the student finance and human rights judicial review case stated:
“We are incredibly grateful for Gráinne Mellon’s dedication to ensuring justice is served and advocating the right to education. Her presentation of our case was thoughtful, well-articulated, and engaging. As a result of her hard work and dedication, I was able to gain funding for my degree and continue my education in the absence of financial stress. We are incredibly grateful for her commitment and advocation of justice.”
Gráinne is the Vice-Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee and sits on the Advisory Board of the London Irish Lawyers Association.
David is described by referees as Garden Court Chamber's 'treasured legal researcher' and an ‘absolute legend and saint’. In addition to providing expert legal research and analysis to members of Chambers, David also works closely with Breaking the Chains, a joint project of Shpresa and the Migrant and Refugee Children’s Legal Unit (MiCLU) at Islington Law Centre, to improve outcomes for asylum-seeking Albanian young people. He supports them with a variety of publicly funded asylum casework.
He is a co-General Editor of Macdonald’s Immigration Law and Practice, an Assistant Consultant Editor of the British nationality volume of Halsbury’s Laws of England, a contributor to Butterworths Immigration Law Service, and writes a regular column on immigration law for Legal Action magazine. With Jennifer Blair of the Helen Bamber Foundation, he co-authored ‘Bridging a Protection Gap: Disability and the Refugee Convention’ in 2021, a comprehensive guide to the impact of disability on refugee claims, and hosted a seminar for lawyers at which this paper was launched.
Winners will be announced at the in-person LALY22 ceremony on Tuesday 12 July. Book your tickets here.