Matthew Evans – Director of the AIRE Centre has been awarded a top legal prize at the Law Society’s Excellence Awards - the highest accolade for law firms in England and Wales.
The event – held virtually for the first time due to the Covid-19 pandemic – shines a spotlight on the achievements of solicitors in England and Wales. Professionals and their firms are recognised across a range of categories covering all areas of legal practice and business.
Matthew was announced as the winner of the Human Rights Solicitor of the Year category.
The judging panel said:
“Matthew has helped reshape the law in a broad range of important fields to deliver impact for hundreds of thousands of people”
Matthew was involved in several landmark cases before the UK Supreme Court over the last year. They included rulings in respect of what amounts to ‘lawful residence’ under free movement law which will have a positive effect on thousands of vulnerable EU nationals; a judgment which clarifies the law governing the identification and treatment of victims of trafficking and modern slavery, and which is likely to become the leading case on the application of the European Trafficking Directive (ECAT) in the UK and in Europe; and what the applicable test is for when authorities are considering the removal of seriously ill people to their country of origin and the circumstances in which a breach of Article 3 of the ECHR (prohibition on inhuman or degrading treatment) might occur.
Matthew was also praised for his highly successful direct representation and advocacy on behalf of vulnerable EU nationals in the UK immigration and social security tribunals, and the creation of several online tools to assist EU nationals who struggle to apply under the government’s EU settled status scheme, in order to help them secure their immigration status in the UK post-Brexit.
Law Society of England and Wales president Simon Davis said: “2020 has been an extremely challenging year for the profession and the public.
“Solicitors have gone above and beyond in order to keep individual and business clients out of trouble, often at risk to their own mental, physical and financial health."
“At the Law Society Excellence Awards, we come together to celebrate outstanding success.
“There are more than 9,000 firms and 190,000 solicitors in England and Wales, so to win an Excellence Award is an extraordinary achievement."
Commenting on the award, Roger Casale, Director of New Europeans, said:
"Congratulations to Matthew Evans on this prestigious and richly deserved award."
"We were delighted to have the opportunity to work with Matthew and his team at the AIRE Centre earlier this year and learned a great deal from their commitment and expertise."
"We are delighted to see Matthew's pioneering work recognised in this way"
More information about the AIRE Centre here