The nominees of this year's legal aid 'Oscars' have been announced, with the shortlist including the Belfast firm representing families of people killed in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings.

Winners of the 15th Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards, which is organised by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, will be announced in London on 5 July.

KRW Law is one of three nominees for legal aid firm/not-for-profit agency of the year, an award which is sponsored by the Law Society.

The firm was nominated by the Justice4the21 campaign. Julie Hambleton, whose sister was among the 21 killed in the bombings, said: 'This incredible law firm has provided the families still grieving the loss of their loved ones with the most professional and powerful legal representation.'

'The whole team has been available to us 24 hours a day, every day. They investigate any new information as it becomes available with a level of immediacy that would put many police forces to shame.'

Carol Storer

Carol Storer

KRW Law has represented eight of the families of the victims pro bono since 2014.

Earlier this month the firm said it had been informed by the Legal Aid Agency that, following lobbying resulting in an amendment to the legal aid regulations, KRW has been offered a contract to continue to represent its clients. Additionally, financial eligibility limits for legal aid have been waived.

The firm said the contract was a 'complex legal document/specification' but it hopes to represent its clients at the next hearing in Birmingham on 31 May, which will address the scope of the inquests.

LAPG director Carol Storer said the calibre of this year's nominations was 'staggeringly high and a real reflection of the expertise, grit and compassion which characterises the legal aid sector'.

The categories and finalists are:

Children's rights

  • Jennifer Twite, Just for Kids Law
  • Solange Valdez-Symonds, Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens/Migrant Resource Centre
  • Melanie Stooks, GT Stewart

Criminal Defence

  • Zoe Gascoyne, Quinn Melville
  • Graeme Hydari, Hodge Jones & Allen
  • Jude Lanchin, Bindmans

Family private including mediation

  • Mark Gilmartin, Wilson Solicitors
  • Mary Shaw, David Gray Solicitors
  • Amardeep Pattni, Sternberg Reed

Family public

  • Sheila Donn, Philcox Gray 
  • Deborah Piccos, TV Edwards 
  • Heather Thomas, Creighton & Partners

Immigration and asylum

  • Kaweh Beheshtizadeh, Barnes Harrild & Dyer
  • Toufique Hossain, Duncan Lewis
  • Marcela Navarrete, Wilsons Solicitors

Legal aid barrister

  • Brenda Campbell, Garden Court Chambers
  • Jesse Nicholls, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Philip Rule, No5 Chambers

Legal aid firm/not-for-profit agency

  • Community Law Partnership
  • Harrow Law Centre
  • KRW Law

Legal aid newcomer

  • Jennifer Blair, No5 Chambers
  • Paul Clark, Garden Court Chambers
  • Ravi Naik, Irvine Thanvi Natas
  • Tom Royston, Garden Court North

Public Law

  • Dr Keith Lomax, Minton Morrill 
  • Katy Robinson, Wilson Solicitors
  • Christopher Stanley, KRW Law

Social and welfare

  • Laura Hobey-Hamsher, Bindmans
  • ManjitMandair, Osbornes
  • Gareth Mitchell, Deighton Pierce Glynn
  • Stuart Luke, Bhatia Best

Access to justice through IT

  • Advicelocal, Lasa
  • Law for Good, Legal Geek
  • Advicenow, Law for Life

Outstanding achievement

To be announced at the ceremony