In praise of …
At a time when the legal aid world appears to be crumbling around us, one bright spot has been the success of a string of judicial reviews against the cuts. Behind three of these JRs is Martha Spurrier – unassuming, dedicated and frighteningly clever, she has worked enormously hard to preserve access to justice for our clients.
Now at Doughty Street, Martha previously worked as a barrister at the Public Law Project and Mind.
As well as JRs, Martha is also known for the expertise, humanity and kindness she brings to her work for individuals. Most recently, she was counsel for the family of Kesia Leatherbarrow, a 17-year old girl, who took her own life following her detention at the police station. The only woman among nine barristers, many of whom were far older and more experienced than her, Martha more than held her own. Kesia’s family said afterwards that having Martha in their corner helped get them through the five-week ordeal of the inquest.
It is a testament to her strength and commitment that during Kesia’s inquest she was still able to find time at the weekends to work with me on an important intervention in the Supreme Court on the rights of prisoners subjected to solitary confinement.
Martha also specialises in civil claims against the police and other public authorities and has a particular interest in claims on behalf of children and people with mental health problems.
Her only shortcoming is that there is only one of her.