Who? Mike Hayward, partner at Woodfines Solicitors, Milton Keynes.
Why is he in the news: Acted for a female rape victim who retracted her true accusation under duress. The woman, known by the pseudonym Sarah, was sentenced to eight months in prison in 2010 for perverting the course of justice, but was released on appeal after serving two weeks and was later acknowledged to have been a victim of serious domestic abuse.
She won compensation for her ordeal, but the award was reduced by 40% because of the cost of the abandoned rape case, and a further 30% due to two minor driving convictions accrued in the traumatic aftermath of her imprisonment.
The award was appealed, leading to High Court Judge H Levenson of the Upper Tribunal Administrative Appeals Chamber increasing compensation, while saying the victim had been punished unfairly for claims of not cooperating with police.
Thoughts on the case: ‘This sensitive case involves an individual who suffered significant trauma. We are pleased Sarah’s case has received public attention and may highlight the need to consider the impact on domestic violence victims who find themselves in the same regrettable situation. While our efforts centred on Sarah, we are pleased the decision of Judge Levenson has clarified the law for other victims of rape whose claims fall to be considered by the CICA.’
Dealing with the media: ‘We have a legal system where it is important for justice to be seen to be done. Regular press and social media reporting of this case has “delivered” the message to the wider public and hopefully encouraged a feeling of faith in the system we work in.’
Why become a lawyer: ‘As predictable as it may sound, I always sought to resolve issues as a youngster and wanted to “shield” the underdog. The law provided a natural environment in which to seek to make a difference.’
Career high: ‘Working on a corporate manslaughter trial, given the rarity of such proceedings.’
Career low: ‘The justice system is at the heart of our society and impacts on everyone. Seeing the recent reduction in access to justice has been difficult to observe.’