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03 May 2024

King's Legal Clinic celebrates double nomination at LawWorks Awards

The King’s Legal Clinic has been shortlisted for two student Pro Bono awards in the 2024 LawWorks and Attorney General Student Awards.

A river is surrounded by greenery
Glaslyn River, Wales. Photo credit, Susannah Miller.

The LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono awards celebrate the best pro bono activities undertaken by law students and law schools across the UK.

Laurent Sammouri, a final year Politics, Philosophy & Law (LLB) student, has been shortlisted for Best Contribution by an Individual Student and the Legal Clinic’s Rights of Nature Toolkit: Rivers Project has been nominated for the Best Contribution by a Team of Students.

Laurent started pro bono work by co-founding an NGO, supporting women and children in Lebanon, and working with the King’s College Law School Pro Bono Society. His commitment to improving access to justice has been demonstrated with over 450 hours of pro bono legal work at King’s Human Rights & Environment Clinic and the Windrush Justice Clinic.

In November 2021, Laurent was selected as a caseworker and researcher at the Windrush Justice Clinic, which provides legal services for victims of the Windrush Scandal, who are seeking compensation under the Windrush Compensation Scheme.

In May 2022, Laurent was appointed as Student Director for the award-winning Human Rights and Environmental Law Clinic.

Laurent Sammouri, has been shortlisted for the Best Contribution by an Individual Student category, for the 2024 LawWorks and Attorney General Student Awards.
Laurent Sammouri, has been shortlisted for the Best Contribution by an Individual Student category, for the 2024 LawWorks and Attorney General Student Awards.

I applied to the Clinic because I knew it would provide a great avenue to work on meaningful and impactful projects while developing my skillset as an aspiring legal practitioner. It remains one of the most memorable highlights of my time at King's.

Laurent Sammouri, Final Year, Politics, Philosophy and Law LLB.

In January 2024, a team of students from the Human Rights and Environmental Law Clinic launched the Rights of Nature Toolkit: How to Protect Rivers in England and Wales, a practical legal guide aimed at other law students, paralegals, and active communities, promoting access to justice and healthy rivers. The toolkit was a result of over a year of research by the student team and consultation with NGOs like London Waterkeeper, and was edited by external counsel including Landmark Chambers.

To date, it has already been viewed on X (formerly Twitter) 93,000 times and there are plans to incorporate it into external campaigns and advocacy, both at home and abroad.

The toolkit represents approximately 540 total student volunteer hours between July 2023 and February 2024, supervised by Assistant Director and Clinic Supervising Solicitor, Sue Willman. Student, Maya Pardo, led the initiative by researching the legal framework for water and writing the toolkit, while student team members Guillermo Gari Ruibaldeflores, Sanja Katic, Saira Munir, Marcus Chan, Addison Luck, and Andrew Tan Ri Yao contributed by editing and undertaking additional legal research.

Rights of Nature laws would be a game changer in the fight for clean water for fish, beavers, birds, wild swimmers and everyone else. We hope the toolkit will be useful to anyone who wants to campaign for rights of rivers and hold regulators and polluters accountable. It’s an honour to have our team’s efforts recognised by the Attorney General, and I feel very privileged to have had the chance to work on this project.

Maya Pardo, PGDip Law and Professional Practice, 2024.
Maya Pardo, one of the lead authors of the toolkit at its launch event.
Maya Pardo, one of the lead authors of the toolkit at its launch event.

Since the launch of the Toolkit, the team have received impressive feedback from leading environmental lawyers and NGOs, who have noted its importance and practicality. The Clinic has also heard from one local government councillor who praised the toolkit on its usefulness for drafting future motions on protecting chalk streams.

Post-launch, the team, including Saiffedine Benamar and Nauman Nadeem, sent the toolkit to 114 organisations, and Sanja Katic presented the toolkit at the London Student Sustainability Conference. Maya Pardo gave a workshop on the toolkit to members of the Chalk Aquifer Alliance. A partnership has been formed with the NGO London Waterkeeper and there are plans for the student team to run training sessions with local river protection groups on rights of nature and using the law to protect rivers.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the House of Lords on Thursday 9 May with the Attorney General, the Rt Hon. Victoria Prentis KC MP.

In this story

Sue Willman

Assistant Director of King's Legal Clinic and Lecturer in Law (Education)

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