A lecturer who put together and supervised a team of students to assist lawyers at the fresh inquests into the deaths of 96 football fans at Hillsborough, has won a prestigious award for her work.
Christine Ball, who works at the University’s Law Clinic, won the LawWorks Pro Bono Award for Best Individual after putting together a team of 30 students who have examined thousands of documents for the lawyers representing 21 families who lost relatives during the stadium disaster of 1989.
Out of hours
Her role, which was carried out outside of her normal working hours and carried over into holidays, evenings and weekends, was recognised at a ceremony where lawyers from across the UK celebrated the work carried out voluntarily by their profession.
Christine’s students had to be trained to assess tens of thousands of documents for relevancy to the case and legal privilege. Many of the papers were from the estate of the late Anne Williams, a campaigner who lost her son during the disaster. They contained upsetting photographs of the disaster and details pertaining to the post mortem of Anne’s young son.
“She has inspired the students by her own dedication to the task; working evenings and weekends and throughout the Christmas and New Year period.”
Christine’s award adds to another recent prize won by the students themselves who were successful at the LawWorks and Attorney General Law Awards.
Christine said: “I am surprised and delighted to receive the award. It was a huge leap of faith on the part of the families whose loved ones died in the disaster and their lawyers, to involve our students in such high profile and important work. We feel honoured to have been given this opportunity to contribute to such a historic case and be part of their fight for justice.
“The award is for all of us, the Clinic staff, students, our partner lawyers, Elkan Abrahamson and Suzanne Gower at Broudie Jackson Canter and of course for the families whose own pro bono work and tireless campaigning has brought about this best and last chance to achieve ‘justice’ for their loved ones.”
Free legal help
LawWorks is the national charity which brokers free legal help for individuals and community groups who cannot afford to pay and runs a number of prestigious award schemes for the legal profession.
Head of the Department of Law, Professor Anu Arora, said: “We congratulate Christine on winning this award. It is due recognition for the tremendous work Christine has put into supporting the Law Clinic student team. Her work, dedication and commitment has been an inspiration to the students who, with Christine’s support and training, have been able to make a contribution to legal history. The award ensures that Christine’s contribution is properly recognised and remembered.”