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Durham University

Durham Law School

News

Advocacy Prize launched in memory of Tony Blair’s father

(6 June 2019)

Durham Law School awarded a new prize for student advocacy named for a former lecturer Leo Blair who taught criminal law for many years and kindled a passion for advocacy in successive generations of students. Blair is the father of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, barrister Sarah Blair and high court judge Sir William Blair.

The inaugural prize was won by Mia Purdy, a graduating law student who launched Durham’s Bar Society and has enjoyed several successes in mooting. Purdy won a merit-based scholarship to begin her Bar training course from BPP and Lincoln Inn’s prestigious Lord Denning Scholarship. Funding for the Leo Blair Prize was raised by Durham University alumni. 

Professor Thom Brooks, Dean of Durham Law School, said: ‘I am delighted to launch this prize honouring the memory of one of our most popular former colleagues who has inspired so many to pursue successful careers in law. This prize helps raise the profile of advocacy, one of the most important skills young lawyers can master’.

Tony Blair said: ‘I’m delighted to see the Law School thriving and I can’t tell you how proud my father would be to have this award named after him. Durham played a huge part in our lives. I am absolutely thrilled Mia will be the first winner of this prize’.

The launch was held at an alumni event hosted by Ropes & Gray in London and presented by the former Prime Minister.

Tony Blair’s praise for the school and presentation of prize can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69f5gCQRihg&feature=youtu.be

Photographs from the evening can be viewed here: https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipNlzp48oiHPc6Dj_rIOD8me6wmWRUK45kNwEkWH2QfvvAN4T8m2OG7sR1Hc3tArUg?key=QW80WW16ODRJc0RMcHJTTUJaQl9XbW5kUjZFd05R