Who? Coral Williams (pictured), 38, sole practitioner specialising in social welfare law at London firm Robinson Wilson.
Why is she in the news? She helped blind barrister Surinder Lall win his appeal against paying the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ on his flat.
In March this year, Westminster City Council decided to cut what the government calls the spare room subsidy from Lall’s housing benefit. Lall successfully argued before the First Tier Tribunal that the spare room was used for storing equipment to help him lead a normal life and was not – and never had been – a second bedroom.
The judge in his decision notice said that ‘bedroom’ is not defined in the regulations covering the subsidy. ‘I apply the ordinary English meaning [of bedroom],’ he wrote. ‘The room in question cannot be so defined.’
The council says that it will not appeal the decision, although the Department for Work & Pensions says that it may do so.
Thoughts on the case: ‘The courts need to be clear about what is a bedroom for the purposes of the new rules on under-occupancy. For example, they should determine whether the room has ever been used as a bedroom, whether it is currently being used as a bedroom and what is its specific use now.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘I’ve been interested in the law since childhood – as my reports from secondary school show.’
Career high: ‘Being offered a training contract by Hackney Law Centre.’
Career low: ‘All the cuts in legal aid and having to fight for funding. How are we going to be able to help people?’