Times journalist Melanie Phillips and the BBC's Zoe Conway have won the Bar Council Legal Reporting Awards 2017.

Melanie Phillips won the Print & Online category for her piece on Charlie Gard and the American right, while Zoe Conway won the Broadcast category for her programme on the limbo experienced by prisoners subject to Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences.

Chair of the Bar Andrew Langdon QC presented the awards at the 32ndAnnual Bar and Young Bar Conference in London on Saturday 4 November.

He said: "I am delighted that so many members the press and media have joined us today showing such a keen interest in the profession. You have been most welcome.

"It is fair to say that the feeling is mutual; we take an interest in you. Like the Bar, journalists speak truth to power. They are vital to our democracy.

"Journalists help to scrutinise and shape public policy. They shine a light on good and bad deeds and they can uncover and help to put right injustices suffered by others.

"The Bar Council Legal Reporting Awards - now in their 27th year - are a way for the profession to recognise and celebrate the media and the individual journalists that make it such an important part of civic life.

"This year's Print & Online award goes to a journalist whose piece on the Charlie Gard case went 'super viral'. It goes to Melanie Phillips.

"Given the attention, much of it ill-informed, that the case received, Melanie turned her mind to the subject and delivered a very powerful piece in The Sunday Times entitled:  'Charlie Gard's case has unleashed arrogance, stupidity and cruelty from the American right'.

"If you haven't read it you should do so.

"This year's Broadcast award goes to a reporter who made a number of programmes highlighting the position of those stuck in the limbo of IPP sentences.

"Zoe focused on a young man who was given a 10-month IPP for arson in 2006. Now 10 years on, he is still inside with no release date.

"IPPs are a difficult subject deserving of public scrutiny, and so Zoe Conway has done us all a considerable service in bringing much needed attention to the issue."


Notes to Editors

  1. Previous award winners include: Clive Coleman, Danny Shaw, Owen Bowcott, Frances Gibb, Grania Langdon Down, Caroline Binman, Mary Riddell, Jon Robins, Robert Verkaik, Maya Wolfe-Robinson, Maeve McClenaghan, Melanie McFadyean, Rachel Stevenson and Joshua Rozenberg. 

  2. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and [email protected].

  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