2015 LALY awards focus on children’s rights and IT
This year’s Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards sees a trio of new categories: children’s rights, access to justice through IT, and public law.
The LALYs are organised by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group on a not-for-profit basis, and supported by Legal Action as media partner.
LAPG director Carol Storer said the addition of new categories reflected the group’s determination that the awards, now into their thirteenth year, should reflect wider changes in the sector.
She said: ‘The children’s rights award is open to lawyers working in a range of areas, which might include crime, education, family or immigration. It is intended to highlight both the fact that the problems young people face don’t always fall into neat, discrete categories of law, and how vital it is they receive the best possible legal representation if their lives are not to be blighted.’
The public law award is intended to be equally wide-ranging, covering actions against state bodies and judicial reviews.
Storer added that the access to justice through IT award is something of a departure for the LALYs. ‘It aims to recognise that, in the light of recent cuts in legal aid funding and scope, technology will have an increasingly vital role to play in ensuring that people on low incomes are not shut out from accessing advice and help altogether.’
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YLAL committee member Camilla Graham Wood was voted Legal Aid Newcomer at the 2014 LALY awards; pictured here with compere Anna Jones, and judging panel chair Lord Justice Andrew McFarlane
The full list of categories for 2015 is: children’s rights; criminal defence; family legal aid; family mediation; housing; public law; social and welfare; legal aid newcomer; legal aid barrister; legal aid firm/not for profit agency; access to justice through IT; outstanding achievement.
The deadline for nominations is 27 April, and the winners will be announced at the ceremony on 1 July. Nomination forms and more information: www.lapg.co.uk.
Young Legal Aid Lawyers will mark its 10th anniversary, with a debate on 23 April on equality before the law, including former attorney general Patricia Scotland QC.
The event in central London will also include Andy Slaughter MP, shadow justice minister, Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party, and Elfyn Llwyd, leader of Plaid Cymru's Westminster Group. More details: www.younglegalaidlawyers.org

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