1MCB Chambers congratulates Tanya Murshed, who was today named as the winner of the Bar Pro Bono Award 2017, in recognition of her outstanding commitment to pro bono work.

Tanya is the founder of Evolve, a barrister led not-for-profit organisation which aims to improve access to justice, build capacity within the legal profession and promote efficiency, integrity and fairness within the criminal justice system of Uganda through the provision of pro bono assistance.  Tanya’s work in Uganda began in 2013, when she became Director of the Centre for Capital Studies’ (CCPS) Mitigation Project.  Through this work, she became acutely aware of the various problems in the criminal justice system affecting access to justice, fair trial and just outcomes such as the infrequent nature of court sessions, mismanagement of court files, unclear judgments and the difficulty in accessing precedents.  Believing that a more comprehensive approach to the various problems was required to make a sustainable impact on the system, she founded Evolve.

A key focus of Evolve’s work has been the plight of the beneficiaries of the landmark Supreme Court case of Attorney General v Susan Kigula and 416 others, which held that the automatic death sentence was unconstitutional.  Since then, 266 people have been resentenced: of these, 243 have avoided sentences of death.  A prisoner who wrote a letter in support of Tanya’s nomination wrote, “It is my humble prayer on behalf of all the inmates Ms Tanya Murshed has helped that she be recognised for her selfless efforts in helping hundreds of us survive the gallows… We owe her our lives!”.

The Bar Council has written about Tanya’s award here.