Who? Daniel Carey, 36, public law and human rights associate solicitor at the Bristol office of London firm Deighton Pierce Glynn.

Why is he in the news? He acted for four applicants who successfully petitioned the European Court of Human Rights to determine whether internet surveillance programmes carried out at the UK Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) are in breach of the law.

Big Brother Watch, Open Rights Group, English Pen and German internet activist Constanze Kurz brought the action after whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the huge volume of internet data collected by GCHQ.

The Strasbourg court can take years to consider a case, but took just three months to read a 1,500-page submission by the applicants and make the case a ‘priority’ designation.

The court has told the government that it has until 2 May to respond, after which the case will be moved to the final stages before judgment.

Thoughts on the case: ‘The court has acted decisively by requiring the government to explain how the UK’s surveillance practices and oversight mechanisms comply with article 8 of the European convention, the right to privacy. This time there is overwhelming evidence, thanks to Snowden, that GCHQ has gone too far.’

Why become a lawyer? ‘The “eureka” moment came when I realised that I could work in a profession whose principles were consistent with my Christian and socialist beliefs.’

Career high: ‘After months and months poring through papers, finally hearing that the Ministry of Defence had conceded in the Al-Sweady case of Iraqi combatants unlawfully killed while in custody.’

Career low: ‘The present government’s partisan meddling with the rule of law, in particular legal aid.’