Winner of


Julia Smart, Furnival Chambers

15. Barrister

Julia Smart’s year causes to one judge to describe her work as: “Lawyering at its very finest, when the stakes are at their highest.”

Her standout case in Regina v Liam Allan defending Liam Allan against six counts of rape and six counts of sexual assault demonstrated an outstanding degree of tenacity. Her diligent search of messages between the complainant and their friends uncovered evidence which proved crucial to her client’s success in the case.

Another judge says: “Julia's work in criminal law in securing a fair trial and accurate disclosure of evidence, together with her dedication, commitment and effective work in debating in the media the important issues in the Liam Allan case is very impressive. Her outstanding legal work whilst parenting three young children makes her a role model for women in law.”

Smart’s success sparked a House of Lords debate led by Lord Morris which resulted in prime minister Theresa May being called to comment.

Earlier this year, the Justice Select Committee confirmed a full inquiry would be conducted into the Crown Prosecution Service and the disclosure in the case which was published three days later.

Smart’s efforts illuminated failings in the criminal justice system, particularly around the issue of disclosure in the case.

Another judge says: “The Allan case highlighted the real problems of disclosure in criminal cases and the impact on defendants and potential miscarriages of justice.”


Highly commended: Karon Monaghan QC, Matrix Chambers

Current Hot100 barrister Karon Monaghan worked tirelessly with UNISON in-house lawyer Shantha David to help secure a Supreme Court judgment in one of the year’s most important access to justice decisions.

As one judge comments: “I really view the employment fees litigation as genuinely stand out over the last year.”

Neil Block, 39 Essex Chambers

Block’s work acting for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as the defendant in the largest group personal injury claim in history has earned him a commendation in this year’s awards. One judge comments of Block: “Neil has undertaken some tremendously complex cases, that are of huge public interest and his references are outstanding.”


- Marie Demetriou QC, Brick Court Chambers
- Andrew Ritchie QC, 9 Gough Square
- Keith Rowley QC, Radcliffe Chambers
- Bankim Thanki QC, Fountain Court Chambers