Looking forward to tonight’s Advocate Awards ceremony with fingers crossed for joint nominees Emma-Louise Fenelon, Charlotte Gilmartin, Rajkiran Barhey, Darragh Coffey and Thomas Beamont for Advocate’s Young Pro Bono Barrister of the Year Award. They have been shortlisted after their incredible environmental work preserving Askham Bog, on small woodland management models and representing the Dangstein Conservancy instructed by the Environmental Law Foundation (ELF).

Thank you for the kind words below about all their hard work in the awards brochure and we’re looking forward to the ceremony tonight!

‘In the past 12 months, five young barristers have spent hundreds of hours representing a number of small environmental charities, grassroot communities and NGOs. They have typically faced significantly better-resourced and more experienced opponents.

The QC who supported the team with their pro bono work emphasised that their “efforts have fallen outside the scope of their day-to-day practice” and that many of the cases involved significant amounts of time in court and even more time preparing. The QC noted that it can be very difficult to find young lawyers willing to give up so much time to unpaid work and he is delighted that the members of this team have repeatedly stepped up to do so.

Rajkiran and Charlotte represented the Dangstein Conservancy in a four-day planning appeal, having also provided significant amounts of advice and drafting. The coordinator described how they both “rapidly mastered this complex case” and was grateful for their helpful advice. Particularly praised was Rajkiran’s “outstanding grasp on the substantive issues at stake”.

Emma-Louise and Darragh represented the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust in a three-week long planning appeal that aimed to protect Askham Bog, a Sight of Special Scientific Interest. A trustee of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust described Emma-Louise and Darragh as having guided them expertly and being instrumental in achieving a successful outcome. He noted that the Trust felt “exceptionally fortunate to have their services”.

Tom and Rajkiran are currently advising a family on matters of employment, tenant, and whistleblowing law, along with potential breaches of environmental regulations.

According to the Director of Casework at the Environmental Law Foundation, all five barristers have, between them, “given many hundreds of pro bono hours” to support underfunded communities and NGOs and given “a voice for local nature
protection”. She described the level of work as “unique amongst ELF’s chamber’s members”.’