We are delighted to announce that we have been shortlisted for two awards at this year’s Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year (LALY) awards. Our public law team, led by director Toufique Hossain, has been shortlisted for the Legal Aid Team award and solicitor Maria Thomas is shortlisted for Lawyer of the Year, Public Law.
The LALY awards are organised by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group (LAPG) and recognise the work carried out by legal aid lawyers throughout the year and celebrate the incredible work and the immense contribution that all legal aid lawyers make day-in day-out across the justice system.
The public law team led by Toufique Hossain is deeply committed to publicly funded work, representing asylum seekers, refugees and trafficking survivors, regularly bringing urgent judicial review challenges against removals and unlawful detention. Time and again, they are the last hope for those who have battled against and within the immigration system, struggling to be heard and their experiences recognised.
Over the course of the past twelve months the team’s commitment to undertaking important public law cases funded by legal-aid, representing the most marginalised in our society, has continued unabated, in ever-more challenging conditions.
They have tackled numerous cases including SM v Lord Chancellor, a successful claim for judicial review brought against the Lord Chancellor’s failure to make adequate arrangements for access to legal aid services for immigration detainees held in prisons compared with those held in IRCs; and representing Detention Action in a judicial review challenging the Home Secretary’s failure to safeguard those held in IRCs during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Maria Thomas is shortlisted for Public Law Lawyer of the Year. She has extensive experience in public law including; judicial review; human rights; and asylum matters.
Her long-standing commitment to legal aid work has been exceptionally noted in the last 12 months through her challenges to the unpublished screening interview policy which saw the Home Secretary deviating from her own anti-trafficking policy, and her work preventing removals of individuals on charter flights.
This year, the LALY awards will once again be held online, live-streamed on their YouTube channel. The ceremony will take place on Tuesday, 6th of July 2021, from around 7pm and winners will be announced live on the night.
We are proud that the work of our lawyers has been duly noted by LAPG and wish the public law team and Maria the best of luck.