Two future BPP Law School students have taken the law into their own hands after successfully fighting two separate court cases against commercial powerhouses in the clothing and construction industries.
Georgina Blackwell (pictured above), a beautician from Essex, has been celebrating after she took on high-flying lawyers by herself to fight a case against one of the country’s largest housebuilders, Bellway Homes.
Blackwell clashed with the firm over access to her mother’s land at Halstead in Essex where she lives and runs a business, House of Beauty.
The High Court heard the company wanted to build on land adjacent to her home but the 23-year-old, who rejected a place at law school six years ago, brushed up her legal knowledge to fight and win the case over access rights.
“We didn’t have the money to take on a lawyer so I had to do it by myself. I was really nervous and didn’t really know how to do any of the formal procedure that goes on in court but just observed what the other barristers were doing,” explained Blackwell.
The court accepted that the housebuilders had broken an earlier agreement they had reached with Blackwell and Bellway has now been ordered to pay £75,000 for rights of access, drop all costs and damages and pay the Blackwells’ costs.
“I always wanted to be a barrister – I got accepted to study law at university – but unfortunately my mum broke her wrist and I ended up helping her run her business. I never quite got to uni but I’ve had my five minutes of being a barrister in the High Court.”
But it looks as though Blackwell could be swapping pampering packages for a pupillage following the news that BPP has offered her a spot to study on its undergraduate law degree.
Meanwhile, former Queen Mary University law student Riam Dean won her court battle against Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) after she claimed the retailer made her work in the stock room instead of on the shop floor because her prosthetic limb did not fit with the clothing chain’s image.
Dean claimed she was taken off the shop floor of the US retailer’s London flagship store because she did not fit with the company’s “Look Policy”.
A central London tribunal awarded Dean £8,000 for unlawful harassment and ruled that A&F failed to comply with employment law.
She said: “I realised that I was not only fighting for me but for standing up for the rights of every other disabled person who has been discriminated against.”
Dean, who has just finished her final exams at London’s Queen Mary University, said she was determined to take A&F to court after completing some work experience in the employment department at Clifton Ingram Solicitors, in Thames Valley.
“I was determined to make a stand, even though I knew that Abercrombie would have the best legal advice representing them because they’re such a huge company.”
The 22-year-old had been accepted onto a place at BPP to study her Legal Practice Course LPC but she has said she has been put off because of the “impossibility” of gaining a training contract at the moment.
“I’ve decided that I want to go into HR and do a Master’s in HR and employment law so I can prevent the same thing from happening to anybody else,” she explained.
Dean also picked up the gong for The Young Person of the Year last night at an awards ceremony organized by RADAR, a national network of disability organisations and disabled people.