Nathaniel Mathews: a champion of access to the law for everyone
It is with the deepest sadness that Hackney Community Law Centre (HCLC) announces the death, after a short illness, of Nathaniel (Nat) Mathews, our housing and senior solicitor and previous recipient of the LAPG Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year (LALY) award.
Ian Rathbone, Chair of HCLC, said: ‘We will miss Nat so much, he was such a shining star of our team – I have worked with him for more than 25 years – but you know, his legacy lives on with the literally hundreds of lawyers who have worked with him and been trained and supervised by him, with a different view of what justice should be to some in the legal profession, and that all people regardless should have access to justice. He had a commitment to those who are poor and vulnerable, showing that there are other more friendly and accessible ways of carrying out legal service.’
Nat worked at the Law Centre for twenty-eight years after joining in 1994. As a tenacious housing lawyer operating in Hackney and beyond, Nat fought for and articulated on behalf of the many homeless and most vulnerable residents and families who relied on the Law Centre.
Sean Canning, HCLC manager, commented: ‘He was knowledgeable, always kept up with current practice and was influential in the wider law centres network and movement. He kept the law centre going at times when others were faltering for various reasons. He was tenacious in his pursuit of justice and would spend many hours outside the daily hours working on cases.
‘He was an inspiration to the many generations of young lawyers who volunteered and worked at Hackney Community Law Centre, the ‘go-to person’ with any legal problem. He encouraged them on, gave them confidence, valued them for who they were.’
He wrote a brilliant occasional blogspot which brought to life the real world of the law centre lawyer and the real struggles of his clients. It was called ‘Frontline Hackney – a day in the life of the Law’ - http://frontlinehackney.blogspot.com/
At this sad time our heartfelt condolences and thoughts are with Nat’s partner Lisa, his parents and their extended family and friends.
The family have requested a private funeral service at this time. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.