South West London Law Centres pick up prestigious legal award

Thursday, May 18th 2017

SWLLC SJ award 2017

Lawyers Laura and Rajitha at last night's ceremony with the award.

The immigration team at South West London Law Centres (SWLLC) has won the Solicitors Journal Award for legal aid team of the year. 

SWLLC was the only Law Centre on this year's strong shortlist. In winning the accolade, it has beaten finalists from much larger and better resourced private law firms, such as Hodge Jones & Allen and Duncan Lewis. 

This achievement is a particular triumph over adversity for the Law Centre, which in recent years has lost 40% of its funding to legal aid cuts and reductions in local authority support. 

The judging panel commended the SWLLC team's work with very vulnerable clients, such as unaccompanied migrant children and victims of human trafficking. Despite its diminished resources, the Law Centre remains committed to undertaking these complex cases, which have such a profound effect on clients' lives and prospects.

This is the second time that SWLLC is shortlisted for the SJ awards. Last year, it was their housing team who were shortlisted for legal aid team of the year. 

Mark Housby, SWLLC's immigration team leader, said:

“We are immensely proud of this achievement. Like all legal aid practitioners we are operating in an increasingly challenging funding environment but striving to deliver good outcomes for what are often vulnerable people with complex cases must remain central to our work. To be recognised for our work at this time therefore means a lot to us. It is particularly apt that it is a team nomination as it is only through collective effort that we can hope to continue delivering those positive results.” 

Nimrod Ben-Cnaan, the Law Centres Network's head of policy and profile, commented:

"This award affirms Law Centres' belief, that high quality legal assistance should not be a function of how much clients pay for it, if they can pay at all. The award recognises important work done 'under fire', as migrants face growing hostility and human rights in the UK are under threat. Mark and his team - Rajitha, Pradeep, Jamie and Laura - richly deserve this accolade and we send them our warm congratulations!"

For more information on this item, please contact Mandy Groves, SWLLC Project Officer, at mandy.groves@swllc.org or on 020 8682 9164.