The Hot 100: Campaigners

Raju Bhatt 

Bhatt Murphy Solicitors

With a long career centred heavily on police racism and brutality issues, Bhatt Murphy founding partner Raju Bhatt specialises in helping members of the public seeking state accountability. 

Bhatt is one of the founding members of the Police Action Lawyers Group and the Inquest Lawyers Group. His recent and current cases include ongoing claims against the Foreign Office, Home Office and Security Service in relation to allegations of complicity in torture inflicted on British nationals detained by the Inter Services Agency in Pakistan.He also represented Victoria Climbié’s family during the public inquiry and damages claims against the Metropolitan Police, two NHS Trust hospitals and three local authorities after she died at the hands of her carers. 

(l-r) Carol Storer, Margaret Gordon
(l-r) Carol Storer, Margaret Gordon

Margaret Gordon 

Christian Khan Solicitors

Qualifying at Kingsley Napley two decades ago, Christian Khan criminal partner Margaret Gordon recently became more involved in protest law, representing a number of protestors and giving legal advice and support to campaign group Defend the Right to Protest. 

Gordon represented student protestor Alfie Meadows in 2012/13 in his trial for violent disorder. Meadows, who sustained life-threatening injuries during the 2010 London student protests, allegedly at the hands of the Metropolitan Police, was also the subject of a complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Authority.

Gordon has recently undertaken a key role in the All Party Parliamentary Group on Legal Aid, with peers saying she dramatically raised the profile of legal aid in Parliament, and helped to ensure that parliamentary opposition to the drastic cuts in provision was based on solid evidence.

Maura McGowan QC 

Bar Council

Chair of the Bar Council Maura McGowan QC took the reins in a tough year but has risen to the challenge, vociferously opposing legal aid cuts.

The 2 Bedford Row tenant has also built links with the Bar Council equivalents in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland, as well as strengthening international links with bars throughout the Commonwealth.

Upcoming cases for this year include a Cayman Islands murder trial, while her first case in January will be at the Old Bailey, defending a father accused of murdering his three-year-old son. 

Past cases include alleged terrorism offences discovered by undercover police in mosques and representing the main defendant in a Manchester gangland murder.

Carol Storer 

Legal Aid Practitioners Group

 Carol Storer was awarded an OBE in 2013 for services to legal aid, after spending the past five 

years as director of the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, and before that leading Shelter’s team of housing lawyers helping people at risk of eviction. 

But it is her reasoned yet determined opposition to the Government’s legal aid
reforms that places her in the Hot 100 this year. 

“Legal aid practitioners know that the result of the changes will be unacceptable devastation for the poor in society,” she wrote in a March letter to The Times. “Our pleas to rethink the plans have been rejected, despite having put forward constructive alternatives for making savings without the commensurate dismantling that these reforms will inevitably bring.”

The fight is far from over, and Storer will remain at its forefront.

Leslie Thomas 

Garden Court Chambers

A self-proclaimed “ordinary boy from South-West London”, Leslie Thomas’s career is far from ordinary. Inspired to help the marginalised and voiceless at a young age, he has been at Garden Court Chambers since 1990.

A career break during which he executive-produced the film We Need to Talk About Kevin has done nothing to dent his successful practice at the bar. He makes the Hot 100 this year for his work representing the family of Mark Duggan during the inquest into Duggan’s shooting by police in 2011. It maybe the most high-profile matter of Thomas’s career to date, but it is just the latest in a long line of instructions related to deaths in custody or at the hands of police.