How CILEx members are helping other people through their
Pro Bono work
At our Annual
Presidential Luncheon on 31 May 2012, The Chartered Institute of
Legal Executives (CILEx) awarded its Pro Bono Medal 2011 to a
member who has been described as ‘one of the best human rights
lawyers in England and Wales’.
Chartered Legal Executive Muhammed Abdul Muid Khan, who is also
a barrister, was presented with a commemorative trophy and
certificate, as well as a cheque of £750 which goes to his charity
of choice The Prince’s Trust.
Mr Khan is considered by his nominees as a model of
excellence for his colleagues and upon winning a landmark
immigration case, where he defended the victim free of charge, the
Honorable Immigration Judge Mr. Moulden described him in open court
as one of the best human rights lawyers of England and Wales.
CILEx Judges were also impressed by how Mr. Khan undertook
various cases and still found time to provide free legal advice at
his weekly clinic.
Chartered Legal Executive lawyer, Angela
Kia, has been awarded the 2010 CILEx Pro Bono Medal.
Angela was nominated for the medal by Home Workers Worldwide
which, amongst other projects, helps asylum seekers receive free
In their nomination for Angela, Home Workers Worldwide said: “It
is difficult to overstate what a difference Angela has made to
people’s lives. Angela has helped people where they had previously
found all doors closed; by offering her time to give free legal
advice, she has enabled them to start their lives again.”
a Brighton Chartered Legal Executive lawyer, was awarded the
CILEx 2009 Pro Bono Medal.
Philip was honoured by CILEx in recognition of the outstanding
level of work he has undertaken for charities, such as the mental
health charity MENCAP and Age Concern over the past year, and for
his commitment to raising money for charities and helping
individuals with unpaid legal advice.
Dolbear, a Chartered Legal Executive lawyer with the
Bournemouth law firm of Horsey Lightly Fynn, was one of the founder
members of the Bournemouth & Poole Pro Bono Service. For the
last 20 years, he has given unstinting service as a member of the
CILEx Bournemouth Branch Committee, as a mentor to students and as
a pro bono advisor to a number of charities.
Tony has been a key member of the team that recognised the need
for local voluntary and community groups to have access to legal
advice, which led to the creation of Bournemouth and Poole Pro
Bono. Since its creation, he has continued to be staunch supporter
and key volunteer.
On a personal level as a volunteer, he has acted in a pro bono
capacity for a local charity that provides care, support and
development to recovering drug addicts as well as a local Community
Centre on debt recovery.
In 2008, Tony won the CILEx Pro Bono
Alison Scammell ad Kelly
Alison, a Chartered Legal Executive lawyer with Brain Sinnott
& Co in Kingswood and Kelly, a Chartered Legal
Executive lawyer with Foster & Partners, also in
Kingswood, are Trustees of the local charity ‘Survive’ that offers
help and support to survivors of domestic violence in South
Gloucestershire and Bristol.
This includes accommodation in refuges, outreach and
resettlement support, a dedicated team for children and young
people and support and education groups. Combined, these services
provide safe housing, practical and emotional support, advocacy,
information and onward referral through group and individual
As well as acting as Trustees for the charity, Alison and Kelly
provide legal advice and help to women who want to escape from
domestic violence. They are also members of the local Domestic
Violence Forum, which brings together a number of organisations in
the area, including the police and social services to exchange
ideas and to ensure a common approach to problem solving and
planning in this sensitive area.
Alison says they are just a small part of a dedicated team who
are there to help anyone who find themselves in a violent
situation at home. “Hundreds of women every day have to suffer at
the hands of violent or abusive partners but they don’t have to put
up with the situation and help is available. Thankfully, more
people are becoming aware of the impact of domestic abuse and the
number of adults and children that it affects.”
Alison and Kelly jointly won the 2007 CILEx Pro Bono Medal.
Dawn, a Chartered Legal Executive lawyer, has been involved in
community Pro Bono work for more than 10 years, most recently
becoming a volunteer at the Leicester Law Centre where she now
provides free legal advice at a regular evening surgery. In her day
job Dawn deals with personal injury and clinical negligence and
specialises in head injuries.
She found that that Leicester been sadly lacking in
support groups for children with head injuries and their families,
the nearest support group being in Birmingham.
Dawn succeeded in having a Family Support Group launched in
Leicester in 2006 through the Child Brain Injury Trust, after
researching all the possible charities. Dawn was personally behind
the launch event and gathering support for the initiative, and
remains actively involved, providing advice to families and acting
as secretary to the group.
In 2006, Dawn won the CILEx Pro Bono Medal in
recognition of her commitment to community legal work for children
with brain injuries.
Faizal Essat is a Chartered Legal
Executive lawyer specialising in Personal Injury Litigation
and Commercial Dispute Resolution at Andersons Solicitors in
Nottingham. He is an CILEx Advocate. He has a genuine care and
concern in helping others and has extensive experience working with
faith and community groups in Leicester. Faizal is recognised in
the community for not only providing a quality legal service, but
also for demonstrating genuine care and concern in helping others.
He also works closely with the media to help raise the profile of
projects close to his heart. In 2005, Faizal won the CILEx Pro
Bono Medal for his work with the Muslim Burial Council of
Carol Simmons is committed to helping others. She is involved in
assisting those working in one of the most difficult and sensitive
legal environments, Iraq.
Carol has been involved in the Middle East for many years and a
frequent visitor to Iraq. She assists an organisation connected to
UNICEF that runs a Children’s Drop in Centre in a city in Northern
Iraq. Iraqi police have been arresting young street children and
many are held without legal advice, as children under the age of 18
are not entitled to a defence lawyer.
The concept of the adversarial system is difficult for Iraqis to
understand, the UK concept of a care system is new to many and
abuse rarely discussed.
The first task has been to understand the legal complexities,
find common ground and produce a simple booklet on children’s
rights under Iraqi law that can be made available to local police,
teachers and social workers and then embark on training Iraqi
lawyers, with the aim of growing a stable system to protect
children in the area.
Working in a male dominated society, Carol has been remarkably
successful in persuading authorities that this work needs to be
undertaken. Still in the early stages this projects promises much
to help the children of Northern Iraq. Carol was Highly Commended
in the 2007 CILEx Pro Bono Medal for her work.
Michael McGhie, Victoria Martin, Doug Chisholm - Bury
Three Manchester-based Chartered Legal Executive
lawyers have been involved with the Pro Bono Clinic since the
opening of the Bury Law Centre in 2006.
At the time the Centre was being proposed the Chartered
Institute of Legal Executives was encouraging members in the area
to consider pro bono work and all three went along to the original
meeting for the Centre to find out more, as they all were
interested in getting involved in pro bono work.
They have all found the experience working at the Centre both
challenging and uplifting with a wide range of clients and cases
where advice is needed. Michael McGhie says,” Feedback received by
the Law Centre has been generally positive and what started
modestly has continued into a third year with every intention of
“There is a solicitor in charge of the Law Centre who's there to
provide support each evening although, in my experience, we are
left very much to get on with things, asking for advice where
All three are very keen to continue their work and the Law
Centre is now embarking on further training for advisers in debt,
CILEx Council member and personal injury lawyer, Keith Barrett
is a good example of the value that Chartered Legal Executive
lawyers can provide to the community through pro bono work.
Keith is an associate director (which is partner level) at the
London law firm, Irwin Mitchell. Keith has handled 17 cases
referred by the London Bombings Legal Helpline on a pro bono basis,
more than any other lawyer, and secured the victims more than £1
million through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
Keith is now lobbying the authority to relax CICA’s two-year
limitation rule for those whose claims may only have developed over
time – such as people with post-traumatic stress disorder who may
have received a payout from the London Bombings Relief Charitable
Fund, but have since had to leave their jobs because of their
condition and may have suffered a loss of earnings.
He says his work for victims of the bombings is a good example
of why legal executives are so well placed to offer pro bono work.
When his firm Irwin Mitchell signed up to the helpline, they asked
him to spearhead the work. ‘The reason I was chosen was because I
was a specialist. And I’m a specialist because I’m a Chartered
Legal Executive,’ he says.
Paddy Willmer is a Chartered Legal Executive
lawyer specialising in family law at Reynolds & Hawkes in
Bletchley, near Milton Keynes, a small firm is made up of just
three lawyers. Since 2002 he has been a trustee of the Bedfordshire
Advocacy Service for Older People, but has had to do it in his own
time – at one point trustee meetings were held in the evenings so
that he could attend.
All those involved in pro bono attest to the benefits they get
out of it personally. ‘I would recommend it,’ says Paddy Willmer.
‘There are lots of little charities all over the place and they’re
struggling for trustees. On a personal level, it’s very