Immigration Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year 2014

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Finalists include solicitor who exposed police spying on protestors

The solicitor whose work led to an unprecedented public inquiry into the role of undercover police officers; and leading campaigners against the legal aid cuts, are among those short-listed in this year's Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards.

Mike Schwarz, partner at Bindmans, was selected for the short-list after winning 50 criminal appeals, because of the undisclosed involvement of undercover officers in the original convictions. The government announced the first-ever public inquiry into the work of undercover police in March.

Short-listed in the inaugural Legal Aid Champion category are Criminal Law Solicitors Association stalwarts Bill Waddington and Robin Murray; Matrix barrister Nick Armstrong, and Matt Foot from Birnberg Peirce. All the finalists have been tireless in their campaigning against the legal aid cuts.

Other finalists include Charlotte Haworth-Hird, whose judicial review led to creation of the Harris Review into the deaths of 18-24 year olds in custody; and David Greenwood, who campaigns for justice for victims of childhood abuse, and chairs the organisation Stop Church Child Abuse.

The Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards are now into their 12th year. They are run on a not-for-profit basis by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group to recognise excellence among access to justice lawyers.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in central London on 5 June 2014

A. Inquests/Actions Against State

  • David Greenwood (Switalskis)
  • Charlotte Haworth-Hird (Bindmans)
  • Anna-Louise Thwaites (Hodge Jones & Allen)

B. Criminal Defence

  • Sean Curran (Guney, Clark & Ryan)
  • Nick Dent (Hodge Jones & Allen)
  • Mike Schwarz (Bindmans)

C. Family

  • Maud Davis (TV Edwards)
  • Hilka Hollmann (Goodman Ray)
  • Cris McCurley (Ben Hoare Bell)

D. Family Mediation

  • Caroline Bowden (Anthony Gold)
  • Sue Colven (Howells)

E. Housing

  • John Gallagher (Shelter)
  • Vivien Gambling (Lambeth Law Centre)
  • Jane Pritchard (TV Edwards)

F. Immigration/Asylum

  • Mark Scott (Bhatt Murphy)
  • Solange Valdez (Ealing Law Centre)
  • Carita Thomas (Howells)

G. Social & Welfare

  • Jess Flanagan (Clarke Willmott)
  • Douglas Johnson (Sheffield CAB & Law Centre)
  • Adrian Syms (Swain & Co)

H. Newcomer

  • Camilla Graham-Wood (Birnberg Peirce)
  • Clair Hilder (Hodge Jones & Allen)
  • Lucy Mair (Garden Court North)
  • Martha Spurrier (Doughty Street)

I. Barrister

  • S Chelvan (No 5 Chambers)
  • Stephen Cottle (Garden Court)
  • Liz Davies (Garden Court)

J. Firm/NfP

  • Ben Hoare Bell
  • GT Stewart
  • Hodge Jones & Allen
  • Howard League

K. Champion

  • Nick Armstrong (Matrix)
  • Matt Foot (Birnberg Peirce)
  • Robin Murray & Bill Waddington (CLSA)

The judges will also be making an award for Outstanding Achievement

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