20 years of Yorkshire Legal Awards: Ruth Bundey

20 years of Yorkshire Legal Awards: Ruth Bundey

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Yorkshire Legal Awards, Ruth Bundey, partner at Harrison Bundey Solicitors, recalls her 2004 win of the Criminal Law Award

You won the Criminal Law Award in 2004—what did it mean to win this accolade at that stage in your career?

By that time I had for more than 10 years represented families at inquests into deaths in custody, as an extension of my work in criminal defence. This was then a fairly remote area of law and initially ineligible for any funding for advocacy. It was a real privilege to find that this work was recognised by the award and very heartening in terms of all I was trying to do.

How has your career developed since, and what have been the highlights?

I have continued with inquest work ever since, one of the highlights being involvement in the lengthy Hillsborough Inquests, where there were subsequent awards for all the lawyers concerned. On an individual level, there are sadly still dreadful cases of custodial deaths where the same mistakes are made and lessons never seem to be learnt, where, however, I treasure memories of the dignity of the families involved.

What would say to the next generation of lawyers considering this and other categories at the Yorkshire Legal Awards?

Have confidence that non-mainstream and niche work can be incredibly valuable to the community, and don’t be deterred from doing it.

How do you see the legal profession in Yorkshire shaping up over the next 20 years?

Leeds is becoming more and more significant as a northern hub, and lawyers should be ready to make a difference and avoid conveyor belt ‘justice’.

The deadline for entering the Yorkshire Legal Awards 2019 is 28 June. View the categories and enter now