Liberty, also known as the National Council for Civil Liberties, made the award in recognition of Stephanie's "prowess as an advocate for human rights and commitment to progressing the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers and contesting oppressive anti-terrorism measures".
Stephanie, who was appointed as Queen's Counsel in March of this year, has dedicated her career to fighting against discrimination and for the fundamental freedoms of minorities and the marginalised. She has continued to act in many high-profile cases concerning the use of executive power to detain vulnerable groups such as children, the mentally ill, and victims of torture, human trafficking and other gender-based violence. In a recent case (Ignaoua v SSHD) leading Amanda Weston, she succeeded in persuading the Court of Appeal to strike down provisions permitting termination of judicial review proceeding by the Executive wishing to rely on secret evidence. She is also currently working with the EHRC in a challenge brought by Detention Action to detention of asylum seekers in the fast-track process. She also appears regularly in national security cases before SIAC and the Higher Courts.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty said:
"It is both humbling and inspiring to recognise and remember those from all walks of life who fight to protect our freedoms. Human rights are so often distorted by some of the most powerful interests in our country. Our nominees and winners remind us that most ordinary people share our values and many are prepared to stand up for them in the classroom, courtroom, newsroom and parliament chamber."
The award is a reflection of Garden Court Chambers' background as a cradle of human rights law in the UK. In the last year, members of Chambers have defended human rights and established important points of case law in both the domestic and European courts. In June, five members of Chambers were involved in establishing important guidelines on the role of the criminal courts in identifying victims of trafficking. In July an independent public inquiry found that Azelle Rodney had been unlawfully killed when he was shot by police. And 18 members of Chambers are now instructed on the Hillsborough Inquest, which will commence in March 2014.
Garden Court would like to congratulate the winners of the other eight awards, and all of those who were shortlisted. Full details are available in the Liberty press release.
For more information about Stephanie Harrison's work and background, please visit her online profile.