Following amalgamation with Coram to form Coram Children’s Legal Centre in September 2011, changes were made to the board membership. CCLC’s trustee board is now made up of the following:
Her Honour Judge Celia Dawson - Chair
Appointed Chair: June 2019
Celia is a Circuit Judge sitting at Norwich and Ipswich County Courts dealing with complex children’s cases in adoption, public and private law. She previously worked as a District Judge in East Anglia, Stratford and Wells Street Family Proceedings Court, where she dealt with some of the first concurrent planning cases, pioneered by Coram.
She qualified as a solicitor in 1985. Before her appointment as a District Judge in 2004 she specialised in children’s cases in the family court and also defending young people accused of criminal offenses in the Youth Court.
She was a trustee of the Children’s Legal Centre based at Essex University before it became part of the Coram Group. She has since then served as a trustee of Coram Children’s Legal Centre and of Coram Cambridgeshire Adoption. She has a keen interest in training professionals and judges and has served as a judicial college tutor and trained judges on children’s law and practice in Tanzania and Zanzibar, as part of a joint initiative between UNICEF and Coram International.
Chris Brown – Treasurer
Chris joined the CCLC Board in 2017, having first been inspired by the work of Coram when leading a review of adoption policy on behalf of David Cameron in 2011. He brings almost 15 years’ experience from policy and economic roles in the UK civil service, including in No10, HM Treasury and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Since 2016 he has worked as an independent consultant on international development projects, supporting public sector reform in North Africa and the Middle East; he also supports major ethical corporate clients to understand and effectively influence the UK policy-setting process.
In 2010 Jonathan introduced a key volunteer, Almudena Lara, who has helped Coram’s Research and Policy team develop its social finance capacity. He has advised Coram on a number of matters of policy. Jonathan is a member of the Children’s Services Committee, and a donor to Coram. Jonathan is a Professor of Economics at King’s College London. Previously, he held the roles of Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research and Chief Economist at the Cabinet Office, where he advised the Cabinet Secretary, Gus O’Donnell, and Number 10 Downing Street on economic and financial issues. Before that he held a number of other senior economic policy posts in UK government, including as Director for Children and Poverty at the Department for Work and Pensions. His particular interests include immigration, labour markets, poverty and social mobility. He writes regularly for the national and international press, is on Twitter at @jdportes and blogs at notthetreasuryview.blogspot.com.
Kerry Smith joined Coram Children’s Legal Centre in 2016. She started her career at the Refugee Legal Centre and as a trainee at Bhatt Murphy Solicitors. Moving into international humanitarian work Kerry was posted in Ethiopia and Columbia for the International Committee of the Red Cross before returning to work as a Gender Adviser at Amnesty International UK focusing on trafficking. She then moved to work on children in conflict at Save the Children before joining Plan International UK as Head of Girls Rights and Youth and developing a new area of work on girls rights in the UK. She joined the Helen Bamber Foundation as Chief Executive in May 2018.
Carol Storer OBE is Interim Director of Legal Action Group. Carol worked as a solicitor for many years, specialising latterly in housing law although for many years she also carried out emergency work representing those who had suffered domestic violence. She has worked in a law centre, local authority, private practice and Shelter before becoming Director of the Legal Aid Practitioners Group in 2008.
She started as Interim Director of the charity Legal Action Group (LAG) in March 2019. LAG’s purpose is to promote equal access to justice for all members of society who are socially, economically or otherwise disadvantaged. LAG seeks to improve law and practice, the administration of justice and legal services. LAG publishes many books as well as its multi-award winning Legal Action magazine.
Carol has been on the board of many organisations including Advice Services Alliance, has been a school governor for many years and is Chair of The Law Society’s Access to Justice Committee.