Special commendations also went to Robert Banks, sole practitioner and author of Banks on Sentence, who “this year alone” has dealt with over 200 requests for help from prisoners, often meeting them directly; and to Rachel Barnes of Three Raymond Buildings, who was commended for her pro bono work on a death penalty appeal and representation of four people, against whom the UN Security Council has applied financial sanctions for alleged associations with Al-Qaida.

The judging panel said it was “amazed by the unprecedented number of nominations”, which doubled from 16 in 2012 to 33 this year. Referrals to the Bar’s Pro Bono Unit, which runs the award, have also markedly increased. Since the introduction of LASPO the Unit has seen a 30% increase in caseload compared to 2012. “It is getting worse by the month,” its Chief Executive, Rebecca Wilkie, told Counsel. “In October there has been a 40% increase compared to 2012 and November is looking to be even higher.”