Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards scooped by Felicity Williams and Robert Latham

THE Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards saw two outstanding publicly-funded practitioners scoop the two awards, for Legal Aid Barrister of the Year and Young Legal Aid Barrister of the Year. Cherie Booth QC presented the awards at a ceremony which saw the best of the publicly-funded Bar celebrated by their peers. The Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Award, which was sponsored by the Bar Council, went to Robert Latham, of Doughty Street Chambers. Robert’s nomination was supported by a number of leading members of the legal profession including Lord Justice Sedley; Keir Starmer QC; and Jan Luba QC, last year’s winner of this award. Robert’s 30 year career at the Bar has seen him lead the way in applying the Disability Discrimination Act to housing; he is a leading authority on the
housing allocations and homelessness aspects of the 1996 Housing Act; he has been at the forefront of litigation about tolerated trespassers. Robert is also a prolific writer and educator and, over the years, has trained and acted as mentor to dozens of other housing lawyers.

The Young Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Award, sponsored by Irwin Mitchell, was presented to Felicity Williams, of 6 King’s Bench Walk in London. Felicity was a founder of the Young Legal Aid Lawyers group and has been its vice chair since she was a trainee barrister. She has devoted significant time to campaigning and lobbying on behalf of the junior, publiclyfunded Bar, and has managed to combine this with a successful criminal practice. Described by those she has worked with as ‘dynamic, energetic and with a mature grasp of the issues and politics’.

Commenting on the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards, the former Chairman of the Bar, Tim Dutton QC, said: “I am delighted that two talented lawyers have received these awards. The publicly-funded Bar does a huge amount of work for some of the most vulnerable members of our society, and both these winners very much deserve the public recognition that the Legal Aid Awards bring.

Barristers are public servants who make huge contributions to the communities in which they live, and these often go unnoticed. Awards like these are an important way to recognise those who might otherwise remain unsung heroes.”