Staff at Birmingham Community Law Centre have been shortlisted for a national Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Award.

The centre’s manager Michael Bates said: “We are thrilled to have been selected as finalists in the Legal Aid Firm/Not For Profit Agency category.

“These awards are the highlight of the year for those of us working in legal aid and providing free legal advice.

“The competition is fierce and to have been shortlisted is a huge honour. It’s a reflection of the dedication and expertise of the whole team.”

Shadow Attorney General Lord Willy Bach, who along with Matthew Smerdon, chief executive of the Legal Education Foundation, nominated the centre for the award, said: “Birmingham Community Law Centre is the epitome of an organisation that leaves no stone unturned in the quest for social justice for society’s most vulnerable people.

“The Law Centre has taken every opportunity to provide services to meet community need and to fill the gaps left by the cuts to legal aid and other funding.”

Carol Storer, director of the Legal Aid Practitioners Group which co-ordinates the awards, said: “The awards are a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the people who work long hours providing advice and representation to people who are often at moments of great crisis in their lives.

“It is therefore very fitting that three law centres are recognised in the awards.

“Although there have been severe cuts to legal aid it still ensures that people can enforce their rights in some areas of law and are not prevented from doing so because of their finances.”

Law Centres in Derbyshire and Islington have also been shortlisted for other categories. Winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on July 1.