Get to know the finalists for Woman of the Year at the Women and Diversity in Law Awards – part two

Ahead of the Women & Diversity in Law Awards in March, we profile the shortlisted contenders for the prestigious Woman of the Year Award

Clockwise from top left: Caron Heyes, Charlotte Proudman, Christina Warner, Grace Brown

In this second part of our rundown of the shortlisted candidates for the flagship Woman of the Year Award at Global Legal Post’s Women & Diversity in Law Awards, we profile four women in law dedicated to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion across the industry and beyond.

Click here to read the full shortlist for the category. The awards take place in London on 13 March.

Caron Heyes, Fieldfisher

Caron Heyes is a director in Fieldfisher’s medical negligence team, where she also provides pro bono services to victims of clinical negligence, particularly adults and children with brain injuries whose disabilities may make it difficult for them to access to justice. In 2022 she partnered with learning disability charity Mencap to found Rachel’s Voice, which seeks to remove healthcare inequalities for people with learning disabilities and reduce avoidable deaths. The project provides free legal advice on inquest law and hospital investigations, as well as legal support to Mencap’s policy team. In addition to setting up Rachel’s Voice, Heyes has worked with the University of Liverpool on a study examining death reporting patterns over the past four years and successfully lobbied NHS England on death certification issues. Heyes is also part of Fieldfisher’s Discover disability network, which provides a forum to talk about disability and implement change at the firm.

Charlotte Proudman, Goldsmith Chambers

Charlotte Proudman is a barrister at Goldsmith Chambers, where she specialises in supporting women and girls who are victims of male violence. She is a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion in law, providing mentoring and support for women who want to become barristers, particularly those from working-class and state school backgrounds. Proudman is also acutely aware of sexism issues, not just in the legal profession, but also in the justice system at large. These experiences have driven her to help reshape the legal landscape for women and champion the advancement of women’s rights more broadly, for instance through her pro bono work with Latin American Women’s Aid, Refuge and Women’s Aid. Her work has helped inform guidance around safeguarding refugee address confidentiality, as well as clarifying sexual history rules to protect individuals and redefining the family court’s approach to rape.

Christina Warner, 33 Bedford Row

Christina Warner is a family and animal protection barrister at 33 Bedford Row and one of only a handful of disabled barristers in practice. Having been diagnosed with Stargardts Disease – a progressive condition which causes sight loss – she has used her experience to support those living with or challenged by disability within family proceedings. Warner has been recognised with numerous awards and accolades for her campaigning and advocacy on disability matters, including being listed as one of the UK’s most influential disabled people. She is regularly published on domestic and international issues affecting the disabled community, such as DNR orders, disability and the right to decide, and the impact of international conflicts on disabled women and girls. In October, she was also a panel speaker at the All-Party Parliamentary Group in the House of Commons, discussing the link between human and animal violence, drawing on her knowledge of disabled victims of domestic abuse.

Grace Brown, Garden Court Chambers

Grace Brown is a public law barrister at Garden Court Chambers where she specialises in human rights, immigration and refugee law. She is regularly instructed in Windrush cases. These include both Windrush Scheme and Windrush Compensation Scheme cases. Brown fights tirelessly for justice for individuals and minority communities affected by Home Office decisions (and, for example, has helped many gain British citizenship). Grace’s work has made her a leading authority in this area, and she is frequently invited to speak at and contribute to Windrush-related events and publications. Brown is a trustee of the Haringey Migrants Support Centre and the Voice Domestic Workers, and she is a mentor for the Inner Temple Mentoring Scheme, where she seeks to inspire and motivate a new generation of Black and ethnic minority lawyers. She chairs Garden Court's Race Task Force and is a mentor for its Access to the Bar for All scheme. Brown is also a contributing author to the leading practitioner’s textbook in immigration law.

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