Congratulations to Sailesh Mehta who has been nominated and shortlisted in the ‘Junior Pro Bono Barrister of the Year’ category in the 2020 Bar Pro Bono Awards.
The Awards panel received a record breaking number of nominations this year with some extraordinary pro bono work being taken on as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement and Covid19. All nominations were examined by an esteemed judging panel, which included Advocate President Lord Goldsmith QC, Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, Chair of the Bar Amanda Pinto QC, and influential legal blogger and author The Secret Barrister.
The Bar’s national charity, Advocate, were delighted to announce last month, that despite the unprecedented challenges faced by barristers in 2020, they placed 1,000 pieces of work so far this year, overwhelmed by the support of volunteer barristers.
“Every lawyer I know does pro bono work. We all recognise a growing need to assist the weak and vulnerable, as poverty and inequality of opportunity increase. These are not “fat cat lawyers” or “lefty human rights lawyers and other do gooders”. Access to justice is an important part of our way of life. Barristers’ Chambers, solicitors’ firms, and our professional bodies support this work without fanfare. It is a privilege to be in a profession quietly doing its duty.”
Winners will be announced on 4 November at the first ever online 2020 Bar Pro Bono Awards ceremony. The event will take place during Pro Bono Week which will run from 2-6th November with the theme this year ‘Pro bono and the pandemic’.
Pro Bono Work undertaken by Sailesh Mehta
- Sailesh Mehta was one of the founding members of the Bar Human Rights Committee, and a Vice Chair. He took part in a number of international projects in relation to Judges and lawyers abroad. Went to Malawi twice to see prisoners of conscience and also advise on new constitution; reported on the Marching Season in Northern Ireland.
- Founding member of the Society of Asian Lawyers and Chair; set up a free telephone legal helpline
Recent Pro Bono work:
- Represented the main protestor in the HS2 protests in a criminal case – secured acquittal
- Represented the lead protestor in the Vegan protest case involving Dolce and Gabbana – 3 days trial
- Represented the lead protestor in the HS2 Civil Injunction case involving 28 protestors – over many days
- Advised a Harvard Scholar threatened with expulsion – he was allowed to continue his studies
- Has advised a group of doctors during COVID-19 restrictions in relation to their insurance and clinic practice
- Advised a front-line doctor on hospital’s mask policy and caused better quality masks to be provided to all staff.
- Advising parents of a child “stolen” from them at the age of 16 by the Head of Religion at his school; child left home and lived with the teacher; teacher eventually sacked by school and banned from teaching for life; currently pursuing Church officials who supported teacher’s actions.
- Drafted simple wills and created living power of attorneys for husband and wife after wife’s diagnosis of Alzheimers; drafted similar wills for a number of elderly couples
- Latest case: 14-year old child bullied at school. Bully beat him up badly on school premises with clear and compelling evidence on cctv; bully subsequently seen in vicinity of victim’s house. CPS started prosecution but dropped case when bully’s parents threatened judicial review of decision to prosecute. Case dropped without consulting victim or his parents, and in breach of Victim’s Charter.