Human rights specialist rewarded for 'dedicated' death row work

HUMAN rights specialist Saul Lehrfreund has been named as the first recipient of the Bernard Simons Memorial Award.

Established in memory of Simons, who died in 1993 during his presidency of the London Criminal Courts

Solicitors Association, the award recognises personal endeavour in the practice of criminal law and in the promotion, protection and advancement of human rights.

It will be presented to Lehrfreund, who works at Simons' firm Simons Muirhead & Burton, at next month's International Bar Association conference held by the general practice section.

Lehrfreund, who has a law degree but is not a solicitor, won the award for his “substantial contribution” toward preserving the lives and human rights of death row prisoners in the Caribbean.

His work has been applauded by Penal Reform International, which says that Lehrfreund is “well regarded” in the field of human rights.

Human rights barrister Peter Thornton QC says Lehrfreund's work constitutes “a major contribution to the international human rights work in the field of criminal law”, and it has continued and developed the work done by Simons.

“There is no doubt that without the dedication of Saul, pursuing difficult appeals under difficult circumstances, this work would not have progressed as it undoubtedly has done over the last few years,” he says.

Lehrfreund says he was “honoured” to be nominated for the award and thankful of the support he received from his firm.

“It is a special honour to win the Bernard Simons award because I used to work for him,” says Lehrfreund.

“He gave me an opportunity and he pioneered all of this work, so that is the real honour.”