Students and Law Clinics at two Welsh universities have been celebrated for their achievements in promoting access to justice in the LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards 2021.
Now in their 15th year, the awards celebrate the best pro bono activities undertaken by law students and law schools. They incorporate the Access to Justice Foundation award for an educational body or student which has made a significant contribution to promoting access to justice. This year, the awards were presented by the Attorney General, the Rt Hon Michael Ellis QC, at an online ceremony on 12 May 2021.
‘Best contribution by a team of students’ award
Cardiff Innocence Project Student Team Leaders, at Cardiff University, won this award, for its work in supporting those in the criminal justice system.
Cardiff University’s Innocence Project is the largest and most active in the UK and the only one to have overturned convictions at the Court of Appeal. Student teams have reviewed cases working with pro bono lawyers, and have researched the rights of prisoners to request early release on compassionate grounds. This year, the project has recruited the largest ever student cohort, and have developed new methodologies for assessing cases.
The runners up for this award were the Streetlaw Online Student Team, BPP University Law School Pro Bono Centre. The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic were highly commended.
Access to Justice Foundation award
Bangor Law School was announced as the winner of the Access to Justice Foundation award for an educational body or student which has made a significant contribution to promoting access to justice, with a special joint commendation to Cambridge Pro Bono Law Society and Leeds Law School.
The Attorney General, the Rt Hon Michael Ellis QC, said:
“I am thrilled to continue this valuable tradition alongside LawWorks to recognise and award the brilliant contributions to pro bono and public legal education by students across the country. The innovation, drive and spirit shown by all of those involved in the projects shortlisted for an award attests to the high quality of aspiring young lawyers.
“They have all demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law and support for the community, and are a credit to their universities and themselves. I wish everyone involved the very best in their future endeavours, and offer my congratulations to all of the winners.”
Alasdair Douglas, Chair of LawWorks, said:
“LawWorks received a large number of high-calibre nominations and the quality and impact of the projects nominated was hugely impressive and inspiring – all those nominated or shortlisted deserve congratulations and appreciation for their work. The judges had a difficult task – but special congratulations to this year’s winners of the LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards.”
James Harper, Legal Director (Global Projects) and Senior Counsel for this year’s award sponsors, LexisNexis, added:
“In such a challenging year, it was incredible to see such a range of high quality, innovative and inspiring entries. Our congratulations go to the winners and to all those nominated, with our heartfelt thanks for all they do in delivering vital pro bono work across the country!”
The judging panel
The judges for the 2021 awards were:
- Simon Davis, former President the Law Society of England and Wales;
- Peter Farr, Head of Civil Law Policy, Ministry of Justice;
- James Harper, Executive Sponsor, Rule of Law and CSR for LexisNexis UK & Ireland;
- Joshua Richman, Senior Editor, LawCareers.Net;
- Leanne Targett-Parker, Chair, Bar Council Pro Bono Committee;
- Rohini Teather, Head of Parliamentary Affairs, Legal Aid Practitioners Group
Full list of winners
For more information on the Student Pro Bono Awards 2021, and other winners, click here.
LawWorks (the Solicitors Pro Bono Group) is a charity working in England and Wales to connect volunteer lawyers and law students with people in need of legal advice, who are not eligible for legal aid and cannot afford to pay, and with the not for profit organisations that support them and their communities. LawWorks supports a network of independent pro bono advice clinics across England and Wales, and facilitates the provision of free legal advice for smaller charities and not-for-profit organisations.
For further information about LawWorks visit: lawworks.org.uk
Reaching Justice Wales & The Access to Justice Foundation
The Access to Justice Foundation – and its work in Wales through Reaching Justice Wales, focuses on generating new sources of funding to support the free legal advice sector, and has supported hundreds of charities and projects working to provide free legal advice and assistance. The Foundation also receives funds from pro bono costs orders and donations of dormant client account funds.
Visit atjf.org.uk for more information.