Child care director Ravi Kaur Mahey has been Highly Commended for Best Contribution by an Individual at this year’s LawWorks Pro Bono Awards in recognition of the her outstanding contributions to pro bono work and initiatives in the last twelve months.
Most notably, Ravi successfully represented a mother on a pro bono basis in her leading Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) case at the Court of Appeal. After the mother’s now three-year-old daughter received a travel ban until the age of 16 as part of her FGM Protection Order (FGMPO), Ravi appealed the decision despite counsel advising that the case had no merit to pursue an appeal. As a result of the negative advice, the mother’s public funding certificate was embargoed, this did not deter Ravi who went on to successfully represent the mother on a pro bono basis at the Court of Appeal and then at the High Court where the child’s travel ban was ultimately temporarily lifted to allow her to visit her father abroad.
This success has now set leading case law for the considerations court must give when determining factors for travel, and the consideration of risk in FGM cases.
Ravi additionally takes part in a number of pro bono clinics and surgeries including Chrysalis, an organisation aiming to support women and children experiencing domestic violence, where she provides free legal advice; Women’s Aid; Fathers Groups; and MENCAP. She is actively involved in setting up a national FGM clinic.
Also shortlisted for Best Contribution by an Individual was Croydon-based housing director Dianne Cowie whose commitment to pro bono activity is longstanding. Since joining Duncan Lewis Solicitors in 2015, Dianne has taken an active role in relentlessly arranging and co-ordinating various pro bono clinics and partnerships in order to best assist clients not only those with social housing issues but individuals with a variety of vulnerabilities, including those at risk of homelessness and those suffering from domestic violence.
Not only does Dianne take part in these clinics, she also further ensures that those at risk of homelessness and possession proceedings have access to the support they need by providing training to Citizens Advice volunteers and caseworkers on these issues and how to assist, ensuring that a positive impact can be made on the lives of both her clients and the wider community.
Out Wales-based offices were also shortlisted at the awards for the LawWorks Cymru award. Our teams in Cardiff and Swansea carry our significant pro bono work throughout South Wales, with a particular focus on assisting vulnerable clients who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to access justice, this work has positively impacted hundreds of vulnerable individuals, the teams routinely go above and beyond in order to best serve those in need of high-quality legal advice.
We are delighted that the pro bono activity carried out by our teams has been recognised and particularly pleased to see Ravi highly commended for her work. We offer huge congratulations to Ravi on her achievement and to Dianne and those involved in the Wales offices for their well-deserved recognition.
We continue to remain dedicated to assisting vulnerable individuals whose access to justice is limited or hampered by circumstances beyond their control, and through the Duncan Lewis Pro Bono Committee, and the individual initiatives of our lawyers and teams, we continue to expand our reach and better assist the communities we serve, ensuring that even the most marginalised voices are heard.