Huddersfield lawyers have extended an award-winning link with their counterparts in Uganda – to help young people in the aftermath of a brutal civil war in the north of the country.
The Huddersfield Law Society Twinning Link with the Uganda Law Society was named winner of the ProBono Award at the Yorkshire Legals Awards held at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.
John Royle, senior solicitor at Ridley & Hall in Huddersfield and a former president and secretary of the society, received the award on behalf of Huddersfield Law Society from BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin.
The society has been working with its counterpart in Uganda for the past 15 years and has run a series of workshops designed to help Ugandan lawyers and law students in areas such as continuing professional development and how to operate more profitably. Huddersfield solicitors have also helped establish a law library in Kampala.
During the last few years it has also worked to provide legal representative for children caught up in court cases following the civil war which raged in the north of the country.
Mr Royle said: “The civil war ended in 2002, but the consequences are still there. Two million people were displaced and lots of families have no adult members at all. Juveniles get roped into adult courts and adult prisons and don’t have birth certificates to prove they are not adults.
“We employ a lawyer who sits alongside the Comic Relief project who is trained to counsel these juveniles.”
Four Huddersfield lawyers – Nigel Priestley, of Ridley & Hall; Sarah Ward and Jane Holroyd, of Ramsdens; and independent mediator Paul Beevers – will travel to Uganda next month (Nov 5) to further the law society’s work with the country’s lawyers.
Mr Royle, who has led groups of lawyers on previous trips to Uganda, said: “This unique twinning arrangement has been running since 2002. The award recognises the hard work put in by local solicitors. It has stood the test of time!”