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Cris McCurley


Cris McCurley grew up and was educated in Yorkshire. Her Dad, who was a life-long member of the National Union of Miners and a committed socialist who believed in equality through education, encouraged and inspired her to study law. She read law at Essex University during the 1980s when it was one of the few Law Schools in the country which focused on human rights and public law. Nevertheless, it was not until after her degree when she worked with women lawyers and activists at the Legal Action Group and sister group of Southall Black Sisters, the Angelou Centre, in Newcastle that she began to relate to and feel engaged by law. Inspired by these women, Cris trained at David Gray’s and started practising in family law, in particular working with vulnerable women and children in black and minority ethnic communities. After ten years and making Partner, she moved to Beechams where she set up a Family Legal Aid department, and then started as a Partner at Ben Hoare Bell in 2006, a firm which won Legal Aid Law Firm of the Year in 2014. Cris has developed a niche practice at the intersection of international law, human rights and family law, representing women and children in relation to trafficking, child abduction, forced marriage, and honour-based violence. Cris was part of the team that wrote the NGO Shadow Report for the UK which was submitted to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in 2013. Her work and campaigning for victims of gendered abuse and legal aid has been recognised in the award of Law Society Lawyer of the Year, which she received in 2014.

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