Law Reform Committee essay competition winners

25 November 2016


Barrister pupil Samuel Linehan has won £4,000 in the Bar Council's Law Reform essay competition with his analysis of the current compensation landscape for miscarriages of justice and proposals for reform.

On collecting the award at the Bar Council's Annual Law Reform Lecture this week, Samuel Linehan, who is practising in criminal law, said:

"I became aware of this issue as a result of recent coverage of some high profile compensation cases. Victims of miscarriages of justice are, in a sense, indirect victims of crime. Fair compensation would help them to deal with the consequences of their experience, and increase the legitimacy of the criminal justice system.

"Not all those whose convictions are quashed on appeal are victims of miscarriages of justice. The issue is where to draw the line. In my essay, I argue that the current statutory test sets the bar too high, and that the approach of the Supreme Court in R (Adams) v Secretary of State for Justice [2012] 1 AC 48 should be adopted.

"I am most grateful to the Bar Council Scholarship Trust for sponsoring this competition. The award will help to meet the expenses that I have incurred during training, and I have some books in mind."

Fergus Randolph QC, Chairman of the Bar Council's Law Reform Committee, said:  

"Samuel's essay is a great example of why law reform is vital to civil society.

"The Law Reform Committee is proud to support those at the beginning of their careers at the Bar in taking an active interest in law reform. Compensation for miscarriages of justice, like many areas of law which do not command the attention of the media, often escape the scrutiny they deserve.

"Much of the work of the Law Reform Committee is to ensure that Government proposals for changes in the law are fit for purpose.  This painstaking work is undertaken entirely pro bono by members of the Bar in order to preserve and enhance the rule of law."

Samuel's winning essay,Putting the wheels back on: a better approach to compensation for miscarriages of justicecan be read here.

The runners up were:

  • Second prize: Jake Richards - The Law of Surrogacy: 'a ticking legal time-bomb'

  • GDL Winner: Phoebe Whitlock - Rivalling Silicon Valley: The Case for the Reform of the Software Patents

  • GDL Runner-up: Kajetan Wandowicz - Pay more or leave the barber's with your hair half-cut: why Williams v Roffey Bros should be reversed by Parliament

  • Highly commended: Amelia Highnam - I do, I don't or a happy medium: Extending the reach of civil partnerships to opposite-sex couples

  • Highly commended: Elizabeth Anderson - Single Parents and Surrogacy

The Law Reform Essay Competition is an annual event and is aimed at developing and fostering an interest in law reform in pupils, law students, CPE/GDL students, BPTC students and those aiming for a career at the Bar.  The competition is generously sponsored by the Bar Council Scholarship Trust and offers prizes of: 

  • £4,000 for the winner

  • £2,500 for the runner up

  • £1,500 for the best CPE/GDL entry

  • £1,000 for the runner up CPE/GDL entry

  • 2 x £500 highly commended awards 

Details of the 2017 competition will be available soon. If you have a specific query, please email


Notes to Editors 

  1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and

  2. 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