LALY special awards announced
Marc Bloomfield
In June, the Legal Aid Practitioners Group (LAPG) announced the winners of four Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year (LALY) special awards for 'social justice heroes of the pandemic'.
Richard Atkinson, partner at Tuckers Solicitors and co-chair of The Law Society's criminal law committee, was responsible for the development and introduction of a nationwide protocol for lawyers attending clients at the police station during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jenny Beck, director of Beck Fitzgerald, co-chair of LAPG and member of The Law Society’s access to justice committee, received the honour for her work campaigning for greater protection for victims of domestic violence during the lockdown.
Specialist legal aid management consultant Matt Howgate's work on the impact of the lockdown on Law Centres was described as ‘instrumental in securing emergency grant funding from the Ministry of Justice’.
Detention Action supports people in immigration detention. It was honoured for its ‘brave and principled campaign and legal action – with expert support from its legal team from Duncan Lewis and Matrix Chambers’, which ‘forced the government to release many immigration detainees during the outbreak’.
LAPG CEO Chris Minnoch said: ‘[T]he LAPG board wanted to make these four awards to express our heartfelt admiration and support for those who in their different ways and different areas of practice have been battling every day of this pandemic to keep people safe and ensure access to justice in this country.'
The LALY 2020 awards ceremony will take place online on 7 July and will feature in the September 2020 issue of Legal Action.

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A national, independent charity, promoting equal access to justice for all members of society who are socially, economically or otherwise...