Legal Aid lawyers honoured

Housing charity lawyer honoured at Legal Aid awards

12 June 2014

John Gallagher wins awardJohn Gallagher, principal solicitor at housing charity Shelter, was honoured at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards ceremony on Thursday, 5 June.

The Housing Award, sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), was awarded to John for his extraordinary and encyclopaedic knowledge of housing law and epitomising the caring, legal aid lawyer.

On winning the accolade, John said: “I was immensely honoured to receive the award, especially as this is the first year that Housing has been a separate category of award.”

He continued: “It represents a recognition of the tireless work and commitment of all my colleagues at Shelter in relieving the misery of homelessness. It will be a massive boost in enabling us to draw attention to the needs of the people and families we help, who have never been more in need of legal advice and assistance.”

John is an executive member of the Housing Law Practitioners’ Association. He has trained extensively for Shelter and the Legal Action Group, and is a co-author of the book ‘Defending Possession Proceedings’.

The awards, now in their twelfth year, were organised by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group and were judged by a panel of 12, chaired by Lord Justice McFarlane who also presented the awards on the night.

There were 12 awards in total and the other winners were:

  • Legal Aid Champion – Matt Foot, Birnberg Peirce, for his tireless campaigning against cuts in legal aid.
  • Outstanding Achievement – Elkan Abrahamson, Broudie Jackson Canter, for outstanding achievement over a 30-year career, culminating in winning a decision to hold a second inquest into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.
  • Immigration/Asylum Lawyer – Mark Scott, Bhatt Murphy, for a landmark unlawful killing verdict at the inquest into the death of Jimmy Mubenga, who died after being restrained by G4S guards, as he was being deported.
  • Inquests/Actions Against State – Charlote Haworth Hird, Bindmans, who was lead solicitor on the judicial review which led to the setting of an inquiry into deaths of 18-24-year-olds in custody.
  • Criminal Defence Lawyer – Mike Schwarz, Bindmans, for his work exposing misconduct by undercover police officers.
  • Legal Aid Firm – Ben Hoare Bell, for its resolute commitment to legal aid.
  • Legal Aid Barrister – S Chelvan, No 5 Chambers, for his ground-breaking work for gay asylum-seekers.
  • Family Legal Aid Lawyer – Maud Davis, TV Edwards, for her work on complex and difficult care cases, and as co-chair of the Association of Lawyers for Children.
  • Family Legal Aid Mediator – Caroline Bowden, who has worked exclusively as a mediator since 2006 and conducted around 1,500 mediations in that time.
  • Social and Welfare Lawyer – Douglas Johnson, Sheffield CAB and Law Centre, who is an expert in discrimination and equalities law.
  • Legal Aid Newcomer – Camilla Graham-Wood, Birnberg Peirce, who specialises in actions against the police and takes a lead within Young Legal Aid Lawyers in promoting social mobility.


Photo: John Gallagher (left) with Roger Ralph (right) CILEx Council member and chair of CILEx’s Legal Aid Working Party.