S Chelvan was announced as winner of the Legal Aid Barrister of the Year at last night’s Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards. 

The Legal Aid Practitioners Group have oraganised the LALY awards every year since 2003 on a not-for-profit basis. 


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 SB 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 says: ‘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 simply: ‘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.”











(Photo Left to Right: Anna Jones from Sky News (Compere), S Chelvan and Lord Justice McFarlane (Chair of the Judging Panel))

The judging panel this year was chaired by  Lord Justice McFarlane, joined this year by the former DPP Keir Starmer QC, and journalist and Guardian columnist Owen Jones, along with other leading legal figures. 

Chelvan practices in asylum and immigration law, specialising in asylum claims based on sexual or gender identity.

You can view Chelvan’s profile here.