Pat Monro, an adjudicator for the immigration tribunal, has been named as The Lawyer/Unicef Child Rights Lawyer of the Year
Monro beat off competition from shortlisted candidates Jerry Clore, nominated by the Refugee Council, Christopher Digby-Bell, for his work with the William's Way Project, and Lady Barbara Lowry of the Grandparents Association.
This is the fourth year that Unicef UK has rewarded outstanding legal performance and the charity said the number of nominations has tripled in size since it was established.
Monro was praised for her role on the Association of Lawyers for Children committee, as well as her pioneering work in the field of children's rights in the 1980s, which led up to the Children Act 1989.
The award was presented during a ceremony at the Law Society, which was addressed by former Sudanese child soldier Napoleon Adok.
During an emotionally charged speech, Adok called on the UK Government to ratify the UN Optional Protocol on Armed Conflict, which would outlaw the use of under-18s in armed conflict.
He said: "For somebody who's been through this, it's extremely hard to understand how governments can hesitate to implement this important UN protocol. Decisions on the recruitment of children should not be based on military interest, but only on the best interests of children."