Mr S Chelvan, a member of No5 Chambers' immigration group, has won the Legal Aid Barrister of the Year award in recognition of his contribution to LGBT asylum law.

Mr Chelvan received the accolade at the Legal Aid Practitioners Group's Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards.

The barrister, who is well known for his work at home and abroad, has been described by Chambers UK as probably "the leading practitioner in the UK for political asylum claims on sexuality".

He delivered the 2013 Stonewall Lecture 'From silence to safety: protecting the gay refugee?' at the Law Society and, prior to that, placed his life on the line delivering lectures in a country where being gay is a serious crime.

"I am hugely honoured to be the recipient of the Legal Aid Barrister of the Year 2014 Award," said Mr Chelvan.

"I should like to thank all at No5 Chambers who have supported me through my interesting, challenging and high profile legal aid cases which have enhanced my profile and allowed me to champion the cause of many whose lives have been in peril.

"I also wish to express my thanks to the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards' judging panel whose recognition will hopefully further help me fight the corner of others who continue to face persecution."

Lord Justice McFarlane chaired this year's judging panel, joined by the DPP Keir Starmer QC and journalist and Guardian columnist Owen Jones, along with other leading legal figures. 

Mr Chelvan was called to the Bar in 1999, having been a major scholar at the Inner Temple and taken his LLM at Harvard. 

He is regularly instructed on ground-breaking public law and immigration cases, many of which have attracted national and international media interest. He is also respected for his pre-litigation advisory work, leading to successful litigation in judicial reviews.

Tony McDaid, practice director at No5 Chambers, said: "This thoroughly deserved award is recognition of Chelvan's passion for legal aid work, commitment to LGBT asylum law and his innovative thinking, which underscore his undeniable reputation as a 'trailblazer'. 

"I am delighted that he chose to be a tenant of No5 Chambers some years ago and I look forward to continuing to support his success and his ongoing contribution to the law and No5’s reputation."

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