(L-R) Awards host Andrew Ryan; Susan Bright, managing partner, UK and Africa, and Sarah Baddeley, associate, Hogan Lovells; awards judge Peter Crisp, Dean and CEO, BPP University Law School

Finalists: Allen & Overy (joint highly commended); Ashurst; Berwin Leighton Paisner; Bond Dickinson; Dechert (joint highly commended); Dentons; Gowling WLG; Paul Hastings.

Hogan Lovells’ partnership with the Royal British Legion to offer pro bono legal representation to veterans in war pensions tribunals and the families of those who died during service, saw it land the CSR innovation prize.

In most cases legal aid is not available for these tribunals and inquests, meaning individuals would often have to face the hearings alone, something that can be both complex and emotionally draining. The firm’s work seeks to ensure deaths in service are dealt with fairly and openly while improving access to justice and possible compensation for victims and their families.

During the past 18 months, the firm represented four families at an inquest into the death of five service personnel killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, which led to a recommendation that safety rules should be reviewed and all military aircraft fitted with flight data recorders.

In another case, the firm was able to increase an injured ex-serviceman’s compensation by more than £150,000. It also represented individuals involved in nuclear tests during the 1950s and set a precedent that means future appellants for war pensions will be subject to a lower burden of proof.

“A detailed and far-reaching initiative with lots of examples of making a real difference,” a judge remarked.

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