S Chelvan from No5 Chambers has been announced as the winner of the Legal Aid Barrister of the Year at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards 2014, organised by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group.
According to the testimonial, Chelvan is known as a lawyer, academic and activist, who has been instrumental in winning greater protection for gay asylum seekers and been instrumental in the development of law in this area.
The decision in JB led the Home Office to recognise the dangers faced by gay and lesbian people in Uganda and changed the legal landscape. Chelvan has a national and international reputation for training and lecturing on asylum law. His work has been hugely influential.
Lord Avebury wrote in support of his nomination, saying he has the highest regard for the tremendous work Chelvan does. Veteran campaigner Peter Tatchell said: ‘He is the only lawyer of his generation that I’ve known to take his passion and commitment for LGBT asylum law from the courtroom into the public sphere.’
One of his clients wrote: ‘Mr Chelvan saved my life when he managed to get me off the plane back to Uganda.’
Despite his success and the strength of his reputation, however, Chelvan remains committed to the legal aid coalface, and continues to appear before immigration judges in the first-tier tribunal.