Simon Mullings – Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year 2020 Award Winner
We are delighted that Simon Mullings who works in the Community Law Team at Edwards Duthie Shamash was named Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year in the Social Welfare Category at an awards ceremony on 7 July 2020. The Legal Aid Practitioners Group’s annual Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards celebrate the inspirational work of Legal Aid lawyers across the country.
Reflecting on his award Simon said:
“For many years I have attended the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards and been inspired and moved by the accounts of work done by outstanding lawyers in the legal aid sector. To be nominated, and then shortlisted and then, unbelievably, to win the award is humbling and gratifying in equal measure. Previous recipients are legal aid heroes of mine. I can only try I can live up to their example and I hope that I can inspire a younger generation of legal aid lawyers to carry on the vital work that we do for some of the most vulnerable people in society.”
Simon joined the Firm in 1998 as a housing caseworker. Over the last two decades he has assisted numerous clients in East London to resolve their housing difficulties, including defending possession proceedings, bringing claims for housing disrepair and assisting the homeless to secure accommodation. Simon appears regularly as a duty advisor at the local County Courts and has brought a number of significant cases in the appeal courts including Panayiotou v LB Waltham Forest in the Court of Appeal which concerned the issue of priority need by reason of vulnerability in homelessness cases.
In 2017, Simon assisted a client by the name of Tony Rice in successfully defending a claim for possession after he fell into arrears of rent as a consequence of problems with Universal Credit. The attracted significant media interest because it demonstrated the inadequacies of Universal Credit and the personal suffering it can cause (link to BBC news article). In a letter supporting Simon’s nomination for a LALY Tony Rice wrote:
I could not work after being attacked. I quickly got into financial difficulty and that’s when I contacted Simon. I was about to lose my council flat. Simon showed great passion and commitment in my case and even highlighted my case on social media to help others in a similar situation. I’m very grateful for what Simon has done for me as I’m still living in my flat.
In congratulating Simon on his award, Shaun Murphy, Senior Partner at Edwards Duthie Shamash, wrote:
“We are immensely proud of Simon who is a very deserving recipient of this prestigious award by LAPG. For many years Simon has been tireless in promoting the interests of his clients, often in difficult circumstances. Simon’s clients are fortunate to have him as their lawyer. He is caring, conscientious and extremely able in confronting and resolving their problems. We are also fortunate to have Simon as part of our team, a delightful man and colleague who has consistently been an inspiration to all who have had the opportunity to work with him”.