The author of last year’s hard-hitting independent review of the Windrush immigration scandal heads the list of solicitors recognised in the 2021 New Year Honours.

Wendy Williams, admitted in 1991, receives the CBE for public service. She is currently HM Inspector of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services for 13 forces across the Midlands, Wales and south-west England. Her review of the Windrush affair accused ministers and officials of failing to acknowledge the suffering of people wrongly classified as illegal immigrants. Her recommendations were accepted in full by the government.

A prominent solicitor judge, His Honour Phillip Sycamore, former circuit judge and senior commissioner, Judicial Appointments Commission, also receives the CBE for public service. HHJ Sycamore was admitted as a solicitor in 1975 and served as president of the Law Society in 1997.

In other awards, Cordella Bart-Stewart, founder of the Black Solicitors Network, receives the OBE for services to the legal profession and voluntary service to diversity and to education. Bart-Stewart, a specialist in family and immigration law, founded north London firm Stewart & Co Solicitors & Privy Council Agents in 1990. She is a prominent campaigner for equality and social mobility. In 2014 she was shortlisted as the Law Society Gazette Legal Personality of the Year.

Nigel Priestley, senior partner of Huddersfield firm Ridley & Hall Solicitors and a community care and adoption specialist solicitor, receives the MBE for services to children and families. His work on behalf of ‘looked after’ children was recognised in the 2010 Law Society Excellence awards. Glynis Wright, founder of Leicester firm Glynis Wright Solicitors, receives the MBE for services to female entrepreneurship.

Heading the government lawyers to be recognised is barrister Malini Nebhrajani, legal director, Department for Health and Social Care, Government Legal Department, who receives the Order of the Bath for public service.

The Right Honourable Geoffrey Cox QC MP, also a barrister, is knighted for parliamentary and political service.

The 2021 list was billed by the government as the most ethnically diverse yet, with 14.2% of recipients coming from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background.