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14 November 2019

Bindmans recognised in the Times Best Law firms 2020

3 mins

The Times Best Law Firms 2020 has recognised Bindmans as a leading firm for the second year running – with a record number of commendations across six practice areas.

Bindmans is recognised as a top firm in the following practice areas:

Our expert teams were commended in the following areas of law:

The Times comments stated that:

When three solicitors from Bindmans — Mike Schwarz, Patrick Ormerod and Ella Jefferson — represented the Extinction Rebellion activists Peter Scott, Patrick Thelwell and Sam Elmore at their trial on public order charges in August, they were acting in line with ideals by which the firm has operated for 45 years. Bindmans has always fought for civil liberties and human rights with an emphasis on public law and challenging the actions of public authorities.

The three activists were found guilty and given 12-month conditional discharges, as were more than 300 fellow protesters arrested during the demonstrations in April. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, gave evidence for the defence that it was their action that had prompted the Labour Party to table a “climate emergency” debate in parliament, and on June 27 the government formally committed to bringing greenhouse gas emissions in the UK down to “net zero” by 2050.

Geoffrey Bindman was already a well-known liberal lawyer when he founded the firm in 1974. He spent 17 years as legal adviser to the Race Relations Board and its successor, the Commission for Racial Equality, from 1966, and represented the satirical magazine Private Eye in some of its early high-profile battles. He was appointed a UN observer at the first democratic South African election after the release of Nelson Mandela. Knighted under the Blair government in 2007, five years later he told BBC radio that Tony Blair should face prosecution for his role as an aggressor in the Iraq war.

Bindmans has acted in cases that have changed the legal and political landscape. In 1983 it represented a 12-year-old Sikh boy who was turned away from his school for wearing a turban, winning a victory in the House of Lords which established that Sikhs were an ethnic community protected by the race relations act. Two years later the firm represented Clive Ponting, a civil servant prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act for leaking classified documents about the sinking of the Argentine warship General Belgrano during the Falklands conflict. He was acquitted.

Equally important has been Bindmans’ role in the inquiry into undercover police infiltration of at least 1,000 protest groups since 1968, commissioned by Theresa May as home secretary in 2014.

Saimo Chahal, a partner, represents Phil Newby, a terminally ill 49-year-old suffering from motor neurone disease, who is seeking a judicial review to determine whether the UK’s blanket ban on assisted dying is compatible with his human rights.

This article was published in the Times Best Law Firms 2020

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