Court campaigner honoured with prestigious legal award

News Release

24 Apr 2018

JC Award

Family solicitor Edward Cooke has been presented with the John Cornwell Award by Resolution, the family justice organisation, for his work to protect his local court from closure.

Named after Resolution’s founder, the John Cornwell Award recognises a Resolution member who has gone above and beyond in his or her commitment to Resolution’s Code of Practice, to resolve issues in a non-confrontational manner and keep the interests of any children at heart. The Award is sponsored by Iceberg Client Credit, and was presented at Resolution’s 30th National Conference, in Bristol.

Mr Cooke was recognised by his peers for his tireless work to protect access to family justice in his local area, following the announcement from HM Courts and Tribunals Service in July 2015 that Chichester Combined Court was to close. By meeting with MPs, speaking out in the press and campaigning online, Mr Cooke has secured assurances of alternative provision in the area, with the existing court staying open in the meantime.

Mr Cooke said:

“I suppose the reason I’m up here is because I’m an ordinary Resolution member - a Resolution foot soldier - doing my day to day work. Our local court was set to close three years ago. All 61 members of West Sussex Resolution decided to take on the Ministry of Justice and we’ve kept the court open. We know it’s going to close at some point but we now believe we will get some alternative provision.

“It’s a David and Goliath story - and it’s really what Resolution is about as an organisation. We represent the underdogs in society, the people who are dispossessed.”

“I’m tremendously proud to get this award and I’m tremendously proud of this organisation. I want to thank National Committee and to all Resolution members who go the extra mile to fight for what we believe in. Let’s continue the fantastic work we do!"

Resolution’s Chair Margaret Heathcote said:

“Edward’s commitment to protecting access to justice is truly inspirational. Whilst we agree the court service needs to be modernised, simply closing down buildings is not the answer. Maintaining access to justice has to be the first objective of any government plans.

“As courts continue to close, Resolution has serious concerns about any potential loss of a disproportionate amount of accessible, face-to-face services which help people resolve family disputes. That’s why we’re proud and lucky to have Resolution members like Edward taking bold steps to preserve such a crucial part of our justice system.”