The Society of Asian Lawyers (SAL) aims to promote and develop the legal profession in the Asian community within the UK. SAL’s prestigious flagship event, the Annual Awards & Ball 2016 took place on Saturday 19th November 2016 in London. At the heart of this night there are four awards, the Lifetime Achievement Award, Criminal Lawyer 2016, Commercial/Civil Lawyer 2016 and the Rising Star Award, which are presented to individuals that have been recognised to have excelled in their chosen fields. Their independent judging panel included HHJ Pegden QC, HHJ Mithani QC and DJ Mason CBA and Duncan Lewis Solicitors’ Jaswinder Kalsi was selected as this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Jaswinder said of her award that she is “absolutely surprised, humbled and honoured. I have carried out over 20 years of Legal Aid work with the most vulnerable of our society. I first volunteered at the Southall Rights Law Centre which was a first of its kind and led campaigns against police brutality, anti-racism and National Front marches. I have been engaged Pro Bono work with CABs, voluntary advice line at the Rights of Women, advice clinics with Women’s Refuges and working closely with other charities. I have also assisted with organising fund raising with other local community groups and temples for victims of floods and food drives for SWAT, who provide food and clothing for the homeless. This work has been a part of my life as well as having been lucky in representing some ground breaking cases before the family courts”.
Jaswinder works in the Family department and is based in the firm’s Harrow office. She has over 20 years of experience as a Solicitor and has specialised in Family Law matters for 10 years. She is an Accredited Family Panel member of Resolution and a qualified Family Mediator having trained with ADRg group.
Her work has ranged from domestic violence, divorce and financial settlements, private law children's matters to care proceedings. Some of her notable cases have been high profile and High Court matters; of particular interest was a care proceedings matter in which she represented a mother charged under the Terrorist Act which was the first case of its kind. She has represented a party in care proceedings in which the family was placed under witness protection and the proceedings were conducted in secrecy. She has also represented a wife in a financial matter where the court had to deal with an issue of lottery winnings. She has also represented a partner who successfully sued the estate of her late partner for a financial settlement having been opposed by the sons of her late partner; the matter involved complex issues of Asian culture.
Jaswinder was the founder of the Asian Women’s Lawyers Network and has throughout her career engaged in voluntary legal advice work with local CAB, Women's Group and the Rights of Women. Additionally, by being able to speak Punjabi, Urdu and Hindi, this has allowed her to help those in the Asian community that are unable to speak English. She continues to fund raise at the Sikh Temple and has previously taken part in charity functions including a Mount Snowdon Climb and annual food runs for a local homeless charity. The Harrow Family Law team, which Jaswinder is part of, continues to provide advice sessions and assistance with an Asian Women’s Refuge, the Watford Women Centre and the SSFA, a charity that provides lifelong support for the Forces and their families. Jaswinder also recently assisted in helping to set up a women’s group in Southall called Voice of Women and works closely with Jeena International, which is based in Slough and helps homeless women and victims of honour abuse.
Duncan Lewis' Family department, ranked by Legal 500 2016 for its Family & Matrimonial work, provides confidential advice with effective representation and includes Advanced members of the Law Society’s Family Panel, and members of the Law Society Children Panel.