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We win two top prizes at The Law Society Excellence Awards

Date posted: 8 October 2021

We are very proud of our wonderful team, and our senior consultant Michael Hanley, who have been awarded two of the top prizes at the Law Society Awards – the most prestigious awards ceremony for solicitors in England and Wales.

 

Solicitors who champion some of the most vulnerable people in society and have made an invaluable contribution to worthwhile causes were recognised across 20 categories, at the event which took place virtually last night (7 October) hosted by comedian Jo Caulfield.

 

We won the Access to Justice Award for our tireless support of the legal aid scheme and our innovative work with charities and local authorities to widen access to justice. In particular our work with Here for Good, Islington in Europe and Islington Council, and Micro Rainbow.

 

The judges commented that;

Wilson Solicitors punches well above its weight. Specialising in immigration – an area which has seen substantial public funding cuts – this firm has demonstrated a strong commitment to continued legal aid provision. They have also initiated partnerships with other organisations such as Islington Council to provide free legal advice to EU migrants; the Hear for Good Project which has funded a full-time solicitor at Wilsons to provide wider legal advice to EU migrants; and Micro Rainbow which supports LGBTQI migrants.

 

Our senior consultant Michael Hanley was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his 36 years of dedication to immigration and refugee law and his leadership of our law practice and his championing of legal aid and the rights of the most vulnerable in society.

 

In presenting the award the Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said;

“Michael Hanley has made an outstanding lifetime contribution to our profession and to legal aid.

 

Across 36 years, he has dedicated his career to fighting for society’s most vulnerable, ensuring they have access to justice and their voices are heard – an integral aspect to all our careers as solicitors.

 

He is renowned for his work in immigration and refugee law, often taking unpopular cases and tirelessly working to protect and defend his clients, their rights, and the rule of law.

 

Together with Andrew Wilson, he set up and built a successful legal aid practice in North London where he carried out this work, leading it to become one of the largest and best-known in the area and an invaluable and important part of the community there.

 

His work to stand up for those who struggle to stand themselves, his dedication to fairness, equality and to the law is commendable and I feel honoured to share this profession with him.

 

I would personally like to thank Michael for all his work for our society, for equality and for our legal profession.

 

I would also like to pay tribute to the hard work, skill and dedication of their counterparts across England and Wales, who continue to champion the rule of law and to defend the right to justice for all despite the difficult circumstances so many of us have faced in the past year.”

 

Matthew Davies, our managing partner, said;

These awards recognise the fantastic work that all of our 100 people do – day in and day out – believing in justice for all. The access to justice award recognises the great work of our partner organisations and highlights the importance of legal aid in society. Legal aid desperately needs to be properly funded by government with an increase to the legal aid rates which have stayed static despite inflation for over a decade. Otherwise it will wither and die.

 

The award to Michael is so well deserved. He is a true legal aid hero who has led us so well over the years, has mentored a generation of legal aid superheroes across the sector, and helped thousands of clients to secure justice. A true lifetime of achievement”