New patron at Hackney Community Law Centre committed to social justice

Tunde Okewale

Tunde Okewale - Credit: Archant

A criminal defence barrister committed to social justice and civil liberties issues has pledged to promote and ensure access to legal services for the multilingual and multicultural community in Hackney where he grew up.

Tunde Okewale will join a distinguished list of patrons at Hackney Community Law Centre including human rights lawyer Louise Christian, MPs Diane Abbott and Meg Hillier, actor and TV presenter Sir Tony Robinson, and journalist Jon Robins.

Set up nearly 40 years ago, the centre in Lower Clapton Road provides free and independent legal advice and representation.

Mr Okewale, who attended Orchard Primary School and Cardinal Pole Secondary School and is now a barrister at the prestigious Doughty Street Chambers, said he hoped his appointment raises the aspirations of young people from similar backgrounds to himself.

“I look forward to sharing my skills and expertise with the organisation and helping to ensure that legal aid services remain accessible to those who need it.

“Hackney has been an integral part of both my personal and professional development,” added Mr Okewale, who also founded Urban Lawyers, which provides inspiration to law students from non-traditional backgrounds and educates young people about their legal rights.

HCLC Chair Ian Rathbone said: “As someone who grew up in Hackney, he will be aware of some of the problems our local people face, and as a leading barrister he also understands the challenges now faced by the legal profession in the face of severe cuts in Legal Aid.

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“Tunde is clearly a leader in the field and someone who will bring inestimable experience and knowledge to the Law Centre.”