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New Year's Honours: profession recognised for achievements

A former Law Society president is among the solicitors recognised in the 2019 New Year Honours List. Robert Heslett, a former DAC Beachcroft partner and Society president from 2009-10, receives the CBE for services to access to justice and litigants in person. He is a former chair of the Personal Support Unit, a charity that helps unrepresented parties through court proceedings.

Susan ridge

Susan Ridge: made Companion of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath

Major General Susan Ridge is made a Companion of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB). Gen Ridge is Director General of the Army Legal Services Branch and the first woman to hold the two-star rank of Major General. She is also a former Law Society Gazette Legal Personality of the Year (2016).

Ruby bhatti

Ruby Bhatti: OBE for services to young people and housing

Bradford solicitor Ruby Bhatti, of Taylor Price Solicitors, is awarded the OBE for services to young people and housing. A nominee for governor of the year at the 2018 Bradford Schools Awards, Bhatti is a board member of the Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust and Dixons Academies Trust.

The first female Asian president of Leicestershire Law Society is also honoured. Medical negligence specialist Mehmooda Duke (pictured below), who set up Leicester firm Moosa-Duke Solicitors in 2003, has been awarded an MBE for services to the legal profession and female entrepreneurship. Duke, a member of the Law Society's clinical negligence panel, began her career as a teacher but retrained as a lawyer a year later. As well as stints at law firms Hempsons, Capsticks and Browne Jacobson, Duke spent two years as head of the legal department for a large hospital trust and a year representing GPs covered by the Medical Defence Union. She became president of Leicestershire Law Society in 2015.

Also awarded an MBE, for services to NHS Wales, is Anne-Louise Ferguson, director, shared services partnership legal and risk services, NHS Wales. Ferguson is a past-president of the Cardiff and District Law Society.

Mehmooda Duke

Mehmooda Duke: MBE for services to the legal profession

Heading the civil service legal honours list is solicitor Gillian Aitken, director general and general counsel at HM Revenue & Customs, who becomes a Companion of the Order of the Bath for services to taxpayers and social mobility. In the Government Legal Department, senior lawyer Ming Wai Kong is awarded an OBE for services to energy policy.


Gillian Aitken: Services to taxpayers and social mobility

Senior civil servants at the forefront of justice reforms are recognised. Richard Heaton, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice, becomes a Knights Commander of the Order of the Bath. Kevin Rousell, head of claims management regulation, Ministry of Justice, receives the OBE for services to claims management regulation.

Dr Xiaojiu Zhu (June Cruickshank), founder and chair of the UK Society of Chinese Lawyers, is awarded an MBE for services to law and the Chinese community. Also awarded an MBE are Christopher Lawrenson, head of legal services at the Building Society Association, for services to sustainability and accountability in the mutuals and building society sectors, and solicitor Gopal Krishan Gupta, founder of Gupta and Partners, for services to British business and philanthropy.

Within the Crown Prosecution Service, there are OBEs for prosecutor Eran Cutliffe, who works in the special crime division, and Diane Spence, senior Crown prosecutor, north east complex casework. Director of legal services Susan Hemming OBE, head of special crime and counter terrorism division between 2011-2018, is awarded a CBE. Mike Grist, area business manager for CPS Cymru-Wales, is awarded an OBE. Senior district business manager Andrea Armstrong is awarded an MBE.

South west employment judge Roger Harper is awarded an MBE for charitable and voluntary service. Magistrates Thomas Donaldson, William Harmsworth, Jeanne Kenyon and Steven Vear are also awarded MBEs.

Patrick Mears, external consultant at HM Revenue & Customs, is awarded an OBE for services to preventing abusive tax avoidance. Mears is a former global head of tax at the magic circle firm Allen & Overy. In 2013 he was appointed chair of the General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) Advisory Panel by the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs.


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