Legal community prominent in UK 2023 New Year Honours list

Lawyers across the country recognised for contributions in areas including diversity and inclusion and medical research

Taylor Wessing's Saleem Fazal was among those recognised for his work improving diversity and inclusion Image courtesy of Taylor Wessing

Lawyers across the United Kingdom have been included by His Majesty King Charles III in the 2023 New Year Honours list, his first following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II in September.

Among the more than 1,100 people across the country to be honoured for their contributions to society, community or area of work was Saleem Fazal, the head of Taylor Wessing's Liverpool office, who received an MBE for services for diversity and inclusion. A veteran litigator, Fazal was recognised for his work as co-founder of Freehold, an LGBTQ+ support and networking forum within the real estate sector, alongside the co-chair of property consultants TFT, David Mann. 

Fazal said the award "belongs to the whole Freehold team, all our corporate sponsors, the property press and all our members who have bought into our vision of a property sector in which LGBTQ+ professionals feel fully welcome and represented. We would not have made so many advancements without the hard work, dedication and support of many people over the years."

Jonathan Sellers, an IP consultant at London firm Howard Kennedy, was also made MBE for services to medical research, including a decade as legal counsel to UK Biobank, the largest medical research resource in the world.

Shah Begum, a construction paralegal at Gowling WLG, received the British Empire Medal for equality, diversity and inclusion services during her secondment to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Construction lawyer Professor David Mosey of King's College London's Dickson Poon School of Law received the CBE for services to the construction industry. A former head of construction at Trowers & Hamlins, Mosey joined the university’s faculty full-time in 2020 after 35 years at Trowers, two decades of which he spent in the Middle East.

Endorsing the award, DLA Piper partner Caroline Pope, the current president of the Technology & Construction Solicitors Association (TESCA), said it was "totally deserved". TESCA previously recognised Mosey in 2021 for "the outstanding contribution he makes to the legal profession".

Another fellow Middle East construction professional, Charles Russell Speechly partner Paula Boast, received the MBE. Boast, who is the vice chair of the Bahrain British Business Forum, was recognised for services to UK-Bahrain business relations.

Other legal academics awarded honours included barrister Dr Julie Maxton CBE, who was made a Dame for her work as executive director of the Royal Society. Maxton, a prominent academic and administrator in New Zealand and at Oxford University, is the first woman to hold the role in more than 350 years. 

Fellow barrister and Anglo-Australian legal philosopher Professor John Finnis KC (Hon) received the CBE, adding to the Companion to the Order of Australia – that country's highest civilian award – he received in 2019.

Awards of the OBE and MBE were also made to the Conservative former justice minister, Helen Grant MP, a solicitor, and to senior civil servants in the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. 

Litigator Dr Ann Olivarius received an OBE for services to justice, women and equality. Qualified in both the UK and the United States, Olivarius is the co-founder of civil litigation boutique McAllister Olivarius and represents victims of sexual harassment, child sexual abuse and discrimination at work. 

Her award follows her appointment as an honorary King's Counsel in the 2022 awards round alongside legal luminaries such as Professor Richard Susskind, which were announced just before Christmas when the main list of practising KC appointments was also announced. 

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