2018 Bar Pro Bono Awards

Incredible stories of barristers giving back celebrated at prestigious legal awards event

Not so fat cats. In contrast to the impression most people hold of barristers as elite, self-interested lawyers, a completely different side of the profession was celebrated at last night’s inaugural Bar Pro Bono Awards in London in the presence of Attorney General Geoffrey Cox QC MP and the Lord Chief Justice. The absolute best of barristers across England and Wales received gongs for voluntary work including supporting vulnerable people fighting disability discrimination, taking on important family cases at the Supreme Court and creating innovative ways to get solicitors and barristers volunteering together to help people. Six of the eight award winners accepted their trophies in person. The prestigious awards ceremony, held in association with the Bar Council, was hosted by Lord Goldsmith QC at Child & Co on October 24, 2018, in the middle of Pro Bono Week.

International superstar barrister Kirsty Brimelow QC, Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee was recognised for her volunteer work across the world, with letters supporting her nominations received from Lord Dubs and Baroness Kennedy QC. In its first year the Bar Pro Bono Awards, supported by the Bar Council, raises funds for former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith QC’s charity, Advocate – the only national charity finding free legal help from volunteer barristers.

Announced on the night was Jamie Goldsmith as Founder of Pro Bono Connect as the winner of Pro Bono Innovation of the Year(sponsored by Lexis Nexis) who accepted the trophy from his father, Advocate Founder and President Lord Goldsmith QC.

Winners of the Awards plus all nominees were:

 Junior Pro Bono Barrister of the Year

(sponsored by Juriosity)

Winner: Sarah Keogh (Old Square Chambers)

Highly commended:

Toby Brown (South Square Chambers)

Rebecca Murray (Temple Tax Chambers)


Sandra Akinbolu (Lamb Building)

Steve Broach (Monckton Chambers)

Sarah Lucy Cooper (Thomas More Chambers)

Patricia Glass (12 Old Square)

Paul Infield (The 36 Group)

Louise MacLynn (1GC|Family Law)

David Massarella (Cloisters)

Darren Snow (Charter Chambers)

James Williams (Henderson Chambers)

Pro Bono QC of the Year

(sponsored by Judicial & Silk)

Winner: Deirdre Fottrell QC (1GC|Family Law)


Robert McCracken QC (Francis Taylor Building)

International Pro Bono Barrister of the Year

Winner: Kirsty Brimelow QC (Doughty Street Chambers and Bar Human Rights Committee)

 Employed Pro Bono Barrister of the Year

Winner: Daria Gleyze (Law Commission)


Pro Bono Chambers’ Staff Member of the Year

(sponsored by the Legal Practice Management Association)

Winner: Deborah Anderson (Practice Director, Hardwicke Chambers)


Richard Bolton (Landmark Chambers)

Peter Campbell (39 Essex Chambers)

Paul Harris (1GC|Family Law)

Nick Levett (Outer Temple Chambers)

Frankie Penton (Matrix Chambers)

Pro Bono Innovation of the Year

(sponsored by Lexis Nexis)

Winner: Pro Bono Connect


Bar Human Rights Committee

Chancery Litigants in Person Scheme (CLIPS)

Mencap Right to Care Barrister Panel

Suffolk Family Law Support Project


Pro Bono Chambers of the Year

Winner: Cloisters Chambers


Blackstone Chambers

Carmelite Chambers

Along with Jamie Goldsmith, other nominees, winners and special guests attended the 2018 ceremony, including: Sarah Keogh, Janet Bazley QC, Schona Jolly QC, Daria Gleyze, Clare Renton, Deborah Anderson, David Wolfe QC, Joel Donovan QC, Sir Ernest Ryder, Andrew Walker QC (Chair of the Bar), Amanda Pinto QC, Michael Todd QC, S Chelvan and Lady Justice Asplin.

Winners of the awards were chosen from over 40 nominees by a star-studded judging panel headed by Lord Goldsmith QC, and including the Lord Chief Justice, Chair of the Bar, Director of the Law Centres Network and the Secret Barrister.

For more information about the charity and Awards visit: www.weareadvocate.org.uk

Notes to editors:

*Please note that Award presentations are staggered throughout the evening and will be announced live on social media. The embargo time is the final Award announcement, therefore once the full list of winners are public. As each Award is announced online, this winner is then public information. Follow the winners #BarProBonoAwards –www.twitter.com/WeAreAdvocate  

 An annual award has been presented each year since 1997, with this year seeing the introduction of nine new categories to recognise the breadth of the legal profession’s commitment to pro bono.

The judging panel reflected the breadth and variety of categories recognised on the night. Lord Goldsmith QC was joined by Jennifer Agnew (Chair of the Bar Council’s Employed Barristers’ Committee), Julie Bishop (Director of the Law Centres Network), Lord Burnett(Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales), Catherine Calder and Robin Jackson (Co-Chairs of the Legal Practice Management Association), Sarah Grainger (Editor, Counsel magazine), Nicholas Hill (Chairman of the Institute of Barristers’ Clerks), Richard Hoyle(Chair of the Bar Council’s Young Barristers’ Committee), John van der Luit-Drummond (Editor, The Legal 500 UK Bar and Asia Pacific),Tanya Murshed (Bar Pro Bono Award 2017 winner), Alison Padfield QC (Chair, Bar Council Pro Bono Committee), Andrew Walker QC(Chair of the Bar), and the Secret Barrister.

Previous winners of the prestigious award include: Tanya Murshed (2017), John Collins (2016), Joe Middleton (2015), Monika Sobiecki (2014), Sarah Hannett (2013), Alison Gurden (2012), Shereener Browne (2011), Maria Scotland (2010), Andrew Walker QC (2009), Access to Justice in Afghanistan Project Team (2008), Guy Opperman MP (2007), Michael Fordham QC (2006), The Rt Hon Keir Starmer KCB QC MP (2005), Andrew Hall QC (2004), John Horan (2003), Samantha Knights (2002), Simon Michael (2001), Daniel Leader and Philippa Page (2000), Doughty Street Chambers (1999), Two Garden Court Chambers (1998), Judith Farbey QC (1997).

During Pro Bono Week (22nd – 27th October) the legal profession and charity sector come together to celebrate the role of volunteer lawyers in providing free legal assistance at home and abroad, and to encourage further volunteering. Pro Bono Week 2018 is the 17th annual Pro Bono Week, which for the first time is timed to coincide with a global celebration of pro bono across a dozen countries.www.nationalprobonocentre.org.uk/national-pro-bono-week

About Adovcate

Advocate is the only national charity finding free legal help from barristers in any area of law and in any court or tribunal across England and Wales. The charity recently rebranded (Monday 22nd October 2018) from its original name, Bar Pro Bono Unit. The charity has helped people get access to justice for more than 20 years.


To date, Advocate has received well over 20,000 applications for help and has given assistance in all kinds of cases. Applicants might be struggling to see their children, be close to losing their home, have been defrauded or be facing an employment or immigration tribunal alone. Without proper legal advice and representation, people have much less chance of justice.


Facing court can be bewildering and frightening event: no one should have to experience it alone. Advocate finds a barrister to take on any eligible case, giving it the same level of service and commitment as would be expected in a paid-for case. Only people who cannot afford legal help or are ineligible for legal aid are eligible for legal assistance through Advocate.

The charity receives no government or lottery funding and is totally reliant on the generosity of individuals, chambers, Trusts and other bodies to fund its work.


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