He has an international reputation for training and lecturing on asylum law, whilst continuing to appear before immigration judges in the first-tier tribunal. In support of Chelvan’s nomination, Lord Avebury wrote that he has the highest regard for his work. Veteran campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “He is the only lawyer of his generation that I’ve known to take his passion and commitment for LGBT asylum law from the courtroom into the public sphere.” One of his clients wrote simply: “Mr Chelvan saved my life when he managed to get me off the plane back to Uganda.”
Accepting his award, Chelvan said he was humbled and honoured to have won, particularly given he was up against the likes of Liz Davies and Stephen Cottle, both of whom he hugely admires. He said he had first gone into law as a way of empowering himself as a gay man. The winners were announced at a ceremony in central London on 5 June.