Philip Evans QC (LLB 1993) is a leading London-based barrister who also works on a pro bono basis with Cardiff University to challenge miscarriages of justice.
Cardiff’s Innocence Project performs a vital civic mission: it assists convicted people that protest their innocence. To date, Cardiff is the only UK innocence project to have a verdict overturned by the Court of Appeal.
I’m passionate about crime-based advocacy, which is a route I decided upon during my studies at Cardiff. I’ve been lucky enough to take on some high-profile cases during my career. I defended Pakistani cricketer Mohammad Asif in the match-fixing case at Lords, I prosecuted in the Hatton Garden Heist, and I serve as the Rugby Football Union’s Head of Rugby Judiciary.
Amidst that, the pro bono work I do for Cardiff University is the most fulfilling. That’s not to say that the advice we have to give is always positive, but when you get the opportunity to argue a promising case for someone who otherwise couldn’t afford representation, it’s phenomenal.
The pro bono schemes offer hugely beneficial experiences for Cardiff students; I’m envious of them for having these opportunities. As a part of this Innocence Project, Cardiff students are routinely involved in research and dealing with practitioners. They are also witnessing the law in action, how we approach cases, the advice we give, and the way we present these cases to the court.
At the moment, we (myself, my junior, a range of current students, a Cardiff solicitor also working pro bono, and the wonderful and dedicated University staff Professor Julie Price and Dr Dennis Eady (PhD 2009)) are currently working on a case we’ve had successfully referred to the Court of Appeal. The time, expertise and input of everyone involved is invaluable, and is making a huge difference to the life of the individual involved.
I attribute the success of Cardiff’s Innocence Project to the tenacity, planning, and the continuity of the leadership and expertise of those involved in the running of this project. Everyone works so hard and feels so passionately about the responsibility in their hands. It’s a privilege to be a part of this.
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Simon Blake OBE (BA 1995) – Campaigning for equality
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