We are delighted to announce that the Cardiff and Swansea based Duncan Lewis teams won the Special Recognition Award at the inaugural Wales Legal Awards.
Immigration director Vinita Templeton and housing director Lynda Reid were present at the awards ceremony, held in Cardiff on Friday night. Our public law and immigration department was shortlisted for the Private Client Team of the Year, an award that recognises outstanding performance from a team in providing exceptional and bespoke legal advice to clients and a commitment to excellence. It therefore came as a great surprise to be presented the Special Recognition Award – an award established purely to celebrate the impressive work that our teams in the Cardiff and Swansea offices successfully undertake throughout the year and the striking impression Vinita made at the panel interviews – a remarkable achievement that we are extremely proud of.
The immigration and public law team at Cardiff handles all aspects of immigration, asylum, human rights and public law and it has been recognised by The Legal 500 as a ‘top tier’ practice since 2014 for its excellence in this area of law, making in the highest ranked immigration department in Wales. Vinita, who leads the department, is ranked as a Leading Individual in the 2019 edition of The Legal 500 and both consultant solicitor Vanessa Delgado and solicitor Eleri Haf Davies are recommended for their immigration work.
The team regularly conducts widely publicised and reported cases, assisting some of the most vulnerable individuals in society through their extensive pro bono work and exceptional legal representation. Recent cases that have received extensive media coverage include the successful asylum claims of an Afghan asylum seeker, and that of a young Syrian asylum seeker whose family has settled in Cardiff. The team also carries out extensive pro bono work and in the case of LC Albania  EWCA Civ 351 are representing the client pro bono in an application to the Supreme Court.
The housing department also carries out significant work across south Wales, specialising in all social housing matters for both landlords and tenants. Led by director Lynda Reid who is recognised as a recommended lawyer for her housing work by The Legal 500, the team includes Christopher Simmonds, Michael Kavanagh and Benjamin Jenkins. Significantly, the team operates a number of pro bono clinics and surgeries, targeting areas where high-quality legal advice is in short supply and access to justice is scarce. This work has had a positive impact on hundreds of clients who were previously at a considerable disadvantage.
In addition to the immigration and housing departments, our Cardiff office is also home to a family law and child care team that offer high quality legal advice and assistance to clients across the region, with their services also available at the firm’s Swansea office. The team includes director Krina Parmar and solicitors Rebecca Dunn, Gayle Williams and Joanne Williams, who all handle a broad range of work in divorce/matrimonial, children public law matters and children cross-border cases.
On receiving the award, Vinita and Lynda commented;
“It is such an honour to receive this Special Recognition award. Limitations on legal aid undermine access to justice. Legal aid lawyers are confronted with an intricate web of funding restrictions – at Duncan Lewis we go the extra mile to achieve the best outcomes for our clients despite of the myriad of challenges. We are delighted at this special recognition of the excellent work that we do!”
We are thrilled to have received this award and recognition at the Wales Legal Awards. It has been an eventful few weeks for our Wales team, with Vinita and Lynda also attending the Cardiff and District Law Society Awards to accept our Excellence in Access to Justice Award. We are extremely proud of the exceptional work that the Cardiff and Swansea teams carry out and it is heartening to have our commitment to clients, access to justice and high-quality legal representation recognised and rewarded. Llongyfarchiadau mawr i bawb!