James Stark awarded Legal Aid Barrister of the Year

8 July 2020

We are immensely proud to announce that James Stark of GCN Chambers has been awarded Legal Aid Barrister of the Year by the Legal Aid Pracitioners Group, in particular in recognition of his work: leading Tom Royston and instructed by Mike McIlvaney of Community Law Partnership in the successful Supreme Court appeal in the case of Samuels -v-Birmingham City Council [2019] UK SC 28 which established that those reliant on subsistence benefits could not be expected to find sums from those benefits to meet shortfalls between their contractual rent and housing benefit as subsistence benefits were designed to meet only their reasonable living expenses.

James says, “I am delighted and honoured  to receive this award from the Legal Aid Practitioners Group LALY Awards 2020 which means so much coming from other legal aid lawyers and advisers and in a category where my two fellow finalists are clearly outstanding practitioners . I am also particularly thrilled to see three other housing lawyers win awards too in Siobhan Taylor-Ward, Mike McIlvaney and Simon Mullings”.

Garden Court North are also particularly pleased to congratulate Mike McIlvaney on his success in receiving the Outstanding Achievement award after 30 years in legal aid practice acting for the most vulnerable and echo the sentiments he expressed in his acceptance film that the culture of refusal at the Legal Aid Agency, which we had to overcome in Samuels being refused legal aid six times before it was finally granted,  particularly discriminates against Black and Minority Ethnic clients and that it is imperative that it is forcefully challenged.

Here’s what LALY Judge Dr Chelvan had to say about James’ award:

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