Garden Court Chambers is delighted to announce that two members of Chambers won Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards at last night's awards ceremony. Leslie Thomas won the Legal Aid Barrister of the Year award, and Shu Shin Luh was confirmed as Young Legal Aid Barrister of the Year.
Shu Shin Luh was honoured for her work on behalf of vulnerable children and adults, particularly those with complex needs or mental health issues. One supporter praised her work as "transforming lives... and ensuring that local authorities are brought to task". On receiving her award, Shu Shin described it as "a really nice and unexpected surprise". Speaking to the Legal Aid community she said "Credit goes to all those solicitors and advocacy groups I work with - a collective prize for everyone who works in this area of the law".
Leslie Thomas was commended for his empathy and desire to work for the less fortunate in society, in particular representing bereaved families at inquests. Addressing colleagues both past and present, Leslie said "Thanks for all your support over the years - I really owe this award to you guys".
This year, two of the three finalists in this category were from Garden Court: Stephanie Harrison was praised for working on national security and immigration detention cases, her work having established that the Home Office is illegally detaining people with serious mental illnesses.
All three continue the tradition of David Watkinson, Jan Luba QC and Marc Willers who won LALY awards in 2005, 2007 and 2011 respectively. In each of the other categories it was a pleasure to see so many of the solicitors and organisations which Chambers works with as finalists and winners.
Commenting on the event, Head of Chambers Henry Blaxland QC described the pride he felt at Garden Court's involvement in the awards. "Not only did we have three nominations, itself a huge achievement, but Garden Court made a significant contribution to the nominations of others. Evenings like this make you realise just how important it is to maintain our tradition of committed excellence in legal aid work."
To mark the 10 year anniversary of the awards, the evening ended with a special award to Doreen Lawrence OBE for the exceptional commitment she has shown to fighting for justice over many years.
Leslie Thomas (above) and Shu Shin Luh (top)
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