Bar Council announces Brian King, Owen Bowcott and Maya Wolfe-Robinson as 2013 Legal Reporting Awards winners

2 November 2013

Brian King, Above the Title Producer for BBC Radio 4's Unreliable Evidence, and Owen Bowcott and Maya Wolfe-Robinson, both Legal Affairs reporters for The Guardian, are the winners of this year's Legal Reporting Awards, in the broadcast and written categories respectively. They will be presented with their awards by The Rt. Hon. The Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and Head of Criminal Justice, at the Annual Bar Conference today, Saturday 2 November.

The Legal Reporting Awards, now in their 22nd year, were established by the Bar Council to recognise print and broadcast journalists whose work contributes to a greater public understanding and awareness of legal issues.

In the broadcast category, Brian King was chosen for an episode of Unreliable Evidence, broadcast in May 2013 on BBC Radio 4, which looked at the legal rights of cohabitating couples. The episode, presented by Clive Anderson, provided an interesting and relevant discussion to the many people in the UK who live together but are not married, and uncovered some of the myths of their joint legal rights. The judging panel praised the programme for taking a subject which sought to educate people of their rights and responsibilities, and were impressed with the clarity and accessibility of the discussion.

Owen Bowcott and Maya Wolfe-Robinson are jointly awarded the prize for the written category, for the second year running, for their article "Gay Jamaicans sue over homophobic laws", published on 27 October 2012 in The Guardian. The piece raised awareness of the real dangers of being openly gay in Jamaica, and the urgent need for laws which protect homosexual men and women.The article's message was very powerful; bringing a shocking story of homophobic prejudice to the surface, and reminding readers of the importance of upholding the Rule of Law and ensuring justice for all, irrespective of sexual preference.   

In the written category, Martin Bentham (The London Evening Standard) and Rebecca Lowe (IBA Global Insight) receive special mentions for their submissions. Martin's continued investigative journalism on confiscation orders and frozen assets, which have run a number of times in The London Evening Standard throughout the year, are commended for maintaining this important topic in the public eye. Rebecca's exceptionally insightful and well-researched piece on the UK's financial sector provided the judges with food for thought on legal reforms to renew faith in the industry. The judges praised its insight, depth and the quality of writing.  

The judging panel comprised: 

  • Maura McGowan QC, Chairman of the Bar

  • Nicholas Lavender QC, Chairman-Elect of the Bar, and

  • Elizabeth Fournier, CityAM News Editor. 

Maura McGowan QC, Chairman of the Bar, said: 

"The quality of legal journalism in the UK is of an exceptionally high standard, demonstrated yet again with this year's submissions, which as a result presented a challenging judging process. The 2013 winners all brought out incredibly interesting and important issues in accessible and engaging ways.  

"It is our pleasure to recognise Brian, and once again, Owen and Maya by naming them as this year's winners. All three are truly deserving of the title." 

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. For further information please call the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 or Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.

2. List of winners 

Broadcast

1991 Joshua Rozenberg
1992 Jon Silverman
1993-4 Marcel Berlins
1994-5 Jon Silverman
1995-6 Marcel Berlins
1996-7 BBC Current Affairs
1997-8 Kent Barker
1998-9 Mark Whitaker
1999-00 Joshua Rozenberg - Special Award
2000-01 Jon Silverman
2001-02 Jon Silverman
2002-03 Above the title productions Ltd
2003-04 Mark Easton & Channel 4 News
2004-05 Channel 4 News
2005-06 More4 News
2006-7 Danny Shaw, BBC
2007-8 Clive Coleman, BBC
2008-9 Joshua Rozenberg, BBC
2009-10 Laurie Taylor and Charlie Taylor, BBC
2010-11 Lucy Bailey and Laura Lynch, BBC
2011-12 Danny Shaw, BBC

2012-13 Brian King, Above hte Title

Print

1991 John Carvel
1992 Duncan Campbell
1993-4 Frances Gibb
1994-5 Stephen Ward
1995-6 Roger Smith
1996-7 Clare Dyer
1997-8 Danny Shaw
1998-9 Linda Tsang
1999-00 Jean Eaglesham
2000-01 Joshua Rozenberg
2001-02 Robert Verkaik
2002-03 Grania Langdon-Down
2003-04 Mary Riddell
2004-05 Jon Robins
2005-06 Frances Gibb
2006-7 Mary Riddell
2007-8 James Lewis
2008-9 Jonathan Rayner
2009-10 Claire Ruckin
2010-11 Caroline Binham
2011-12 Owen Bowcott and Maya Wolfe-Robinson

2012-13 Owen Bowcott and Maya Wolfe-Robinson

3. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes:

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board.