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Awards and Prizes

We are proud and grateful to be recognised by so many distinguished organisations for our pro bono work, the quality of our teaching, and our contribution to the community.

Here we list some of the awards and accolades the Student Law Office has recently received. For more information, please see our News page or visit Northumbria University’s Newsroom. 

Our awards

LawWorks and Attorney General Student Awards 2018: Best New Pro Bono Project 

At the LawWorks and Attorney General Student Awards 2018, held in the House of Commons, judges named The Family Justice Project as the Best New Pro-Bono Activity. The awards recognise and celebrate outstanding pro bono work undertaken by law schools and students across the UK. They are run by national charity LawWorks with the support of the Attorney General, The Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP.

The Family Justice Project launched in 2017, in response to the drastic surge in demand for pro bono legal advice and representation in family law matters in the North East following the reduction in the availability of legal aid. Led by Ana Speed and Kayliegh Richardson, senior lecturers at Northumbria Law School and practising solicitors, the Family Justice Project empowers and provides extensive and high quality free legal advice and support to vulnerable and minority groups. 

Paul McKeown, Director of the Student Law Office said: "These are hugely significant awards within the legal sector and we are immensely proud of all those involved in The Family Justice Project. The legal support provided has been recognised at the highest level for its quality, and for fulfilling a growing need for pro-bono legal assistance. It also provides our students with an outstanding learning experience that they can take with them into their future careers. Winning the award is testament to their commitment and skills as legal practitioners - it is richly deserved. We also thank the partners that worked with us on this project, Ben Hoare Bell LLP, the Angelou Centre and Impact Family Services”.

Access to Justice Foundation Award 2017

The Student Law Office team were delighted to be the 2017 recipient of the Access to Justice Foundation Award.

The Access to Justice Foundation is a national charity which, along with a network of local Legal Support Trusts, works to provide access to justice for the most vulnerable in society. It does this by raising funds and distributing them to organisations that provide free specialist legal advice and support to those in need who cannot afford it. The Access to Justice Foundation Award recognises the work of individuals and educational bodies in promoting and supporting access to justice and charities which provide pro bono services.

The Attorney General, The Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP, presented Student Law Office Director Paul McKeown and Student Law Office students with the award at the House of Commons.

Paul said:

“A university is an integral part of the local community and has a responsibility towards that community. This award recognises the invaluable work of all the staff and students in promoting access to justice and providing legal support to people within our region and beyond.”

Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence 2016

The Student Law Office has won a national award in recognition of its work providing students with an excellent learning experience for our students.

The Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) is a new award given by the Higher Education Academy. CATE celebrates collaborative work in teaching and learning, and highlights innovative practice which supports student learning. The Student Law Office was one of 15 projects across the UK to be shortlisted for a CATE award, and one of just six to be named a winner. As part of the prize the Student Law Office has been awarded a grant of £15,000 to help disseminate its learning further.

Professor Peter Francis, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, said:

“This award highlights the achievement of Northumbria’s vision of professional excellence allied to Research Rich Learning delivered through our commitment to experiential learning. The Student Law Office is an exemplar of this practice within this university and beyond.”

Best Contribution by a Law School, LawWorks & Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards 2014

The SLO continued its hugely successful year of awards with another win at the LawWorks & Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards 2014. Students and staff travelled to the House of Commons where Attorney General Dominic Grieve MP QC presented them with the award for “Best Contribution by a Law School”.

This is the third time we have won this award (2008, 2010 and now 2014), a feat that is unmatched by any other law school.

Elaine Campbell, Solicitor Tutor, said:

“Along with our previous wins this was the 10th time we have been nominated in the LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards, and we are delighted with the prestige and recognition it brings for the students and the Law School. It is further confirmation of the value of the work undertaken by the SLO, the learning benefits our degree programmes offer to students and the free legal support the Law School as a whole provides for local communities.”

The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education 2013

In 2013, we were awarded a prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for the exceptional work of the Student Law Office. The prize is the highest form of national recognition open to a UK academic or vocational institution, and is awarded in recognition of work judged to be of outstanding excellence and with positive impact.

The Prize was bestowed on Northumbria University for having: “A university law clinic making a distinctive contribution to the needs of the local community and to legal education.”

Halsbury Legal Awards 2013, Best Pro Bono Team of the Year 

The Student Law Office celebrated a win at the Halsbury Legal Awards for Best Pro Bono Team of the Year against strong competition, including names such as Hogan Lovells.

Law Society Excellence Awards 2011, Excellence in Community Investment

The Student Law Office competed against Magic Circle law firms and was victorious in winning a prestigious award at the Law Society Excellence Awards 2011.  The Student Law Office was the overall winner in the category of ‘Excellence in Community Investment’, which recognises best practice and innovation in community investment including fundraising and charitable giving, pro bono and non-legal volunteering.

LawWorks & Attorney General Pro Bono Awards 2010, Law School of the Year

The Attorney General Baroness Scotland announced that Northumbria Law School were Law School of the Year, due to our pro bono work.

Law student Andrew Thirlwall, who had travelled from Newcastle-upon-Tyne with the rest of his team, said it was fantastic to be recognised for pro bono work for the second time after the university won the same category in 2008:

“I’ve learnt more practical things by being part of the Student Law Office than I have throughout the past three years at university. It’s been a fantastic thing to be part of  – both being able to help people in the north-east as well as adding a practical side to my studies"

Regional and National Training Awards 2010

“Outstanding, exemplary and truly inspirational” (National Training Awards judging panel)

The National Training Awards recognise the impact that excellent training, learning and development have on achieving outstanding organisational and individual success and provides a benchmark for standards of excellence in training in the UK. At a ceremony held at the Discovery Museum on 21 September 2010 the School of Law won two awards in the education and training category. Firstly we were successful in the Regional Training Award which recognises the outstanding impact and benefits demonstrated as a direct result of the training provided in the School of Law, and in particular, the student experience in the Student Law Office. Secondly, the School of Law was awarded the UK National Training Award and this is awarded to true exemplars of excellence. This enabled us to compete for the overall UK awards, and at a ceremony on 1 December 2010 we won the coveted National Training Award 2010 ‘Winner of the Year’ accolade in the ‘Providing Education and Training’ category. The award reflects the general excellence that is the hallmark of our work in the School and the Student Law Office.

LawWorks & Attorney General Pro Bono Awards (2008 - to date)

The Student Law Office has been crowned Law School of the Year at the LawWorks & Attorney General Pro Bono Awards a record breaking three times (2008, 2010, 2014). Alongside this, we have been nominated and been shortlisted over 10 times in various categories, including Best Contribution by an Individual Student (2010), Best Contribution by a Team of Students (2009), Best New Pro Bono Activity (2011, 2009). 


Shortlisted finalist

Solicitors Journal Awards 2016, Legal Education Provider of the Year       

 a truly pioneering and brilliant legal service” (judging panel)

Northern Law Awards 2015, Pro Bono/Community Initiative

Namati Justice Prize 2015

North East Business Awards 2013, Heart of the Community

Times Higher Education Awards 2012, Contribution to the Community

The Lawyer Awards 2011, Best Pro Bono Team  

LawWorks & Attorney General Pro Bono Awards 2011, Best New Pro Bono Activity

LawWorks & Attorney General Pro Bono Awards 2010, Best Contribution by an Individual Student 

Newcastle Law Society Awards 2010, Firm of the Year

Law Society Excellence Awards 2010, Excellence in Learning and Development (Highly Commended)

 This entry was a clear stand-out as an example of an excellent legal education programme that combined practical experience with academic learning, while making a valuable contribution to the community. The judges liked the combined delivery of law degree and LPC work, and the exposure to hands-on practical experience ensures that graduating students are ‘office ready’, which is exactly what employers are looking for. The programme demonstrates best practice in legal education while at the same time making a positive contribution to the community.” (judging panel)

LawWorks & Attorney General Pro Bono Awards 2009, Best Contribution by a Team of Students

LawWorks & Attorney General Pro Bono Awards 2009, Best New Pro Bono Activit

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The Queen's Anniversary Prize

The Queen presented Northumbria University, Newcastle, with the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for the outstanding community work of its Student Law Office.

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