Blog: Why I do pro bono

BLOG: Saria Bashir on pro bono workPro Bono Award winner

04 February 2015

Saria Bashir (pictured centre), partner and Chartered Legal Executive at BHB Law in Coventry, received the CILEx Pro Bono Award last year for her dedication to giving free legal advice to foreign prisoners and members of her community on immigration and human rights matters.

Saria’s portfolio of pro bono work is extensive and has increased since the Legal Aid cuts to immigration were introduced. She’s passionate about pro bono work and talks about her journey into law and what winning the award has meant to her:

Why did you choose law as a career?

I chose to practice law as I felt I can make a difference and more so was passionate about human rights. I am aware a lot of consideration went into deciding the person to receive the Pro Bono award last year and I was overwhelmed when I learnt I was to receive the award.

Why do you do pro bono work?

I have always been passionate about educating people of their legal rights and then being able to challenge a situation where I feel an injustice has taken place.

On a monthly basis I visit foreign prisoners at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes advising them of their immigration status. The prisoners have been severely affected by Legal Aid cuts and they have such important factors in their cases which if not argued, will mean they will not receive a fair trial which infringes upon their human rights.

There’s the sense of personal achievement in assisting people who cannot access legal services. The most rewarding thing about the whole experience is how satisfying it is to provide a solution for the client.

What has winning the award meant to you?

For me to receive the award I feel that my attributes have been recognised and more so I am pleased to see how I have impacted lives by carrying out pro bono work. Receiving the award was truly an honour and I am humbled. I cannot express the mixture of emotions I went through when I learnt that I was to receive this award as I have overcome so many hurdles to get to where I am.

I was nominated for my award by my colleagues and peers as they felt my dedication to the profession should be recognised.

Nominations for the 2015 CILEx Awards are open until Monday, 23 February. Find out more about how to nominate here or email: [email protected].