In his role as director of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC), which is based on campus, Professor Leach has represented hundreds of victims of human rights abuses in the European Court of Human Rights.
Just last week, Professor Leach's client Taisa Abakarova, who lost five members of her family when the village of Katyr-Yurt in Chechnya was attacked by Russian forces in February 2000, was awarded €300,000 in compensation.
He combines this vital work with teaching human rights law at Middlesex – passing on his expertise to the next generation of human rights defenders.
"Philip Leach is an unsung hero of the cause of human rights" - Sir Nicolas Bratza, former President of the European Court of Human Rights
Professor Leach's nomination for the inaugural Human Rights Lawyer of the Year award was endorsed by a number of leading professionals in the field, including Sir Nicolas Bratza, former President of the European Court of Human Rights. In his endorsement, Sir Nicolas described Philip's work as "extraordinary" and "tireless".
"He is, in his quiet and modest way, an inspiring leader of a dedicated team of lawyers, interns and volunteers whose work ... has done so much to advance and protect the rights of people ... Philip Leach is an unsung hero of the cause of human rights and I can think of no one who is more deserving of the award of Human Rights Lawyer of the Year."
His sentiments were echoed by Professor Leach's Middlesex colleague Dr Alice Donald, who said: "There could not be a more worthy – and modest – winner than Philip.
"He is a great advocate for the European Convention on Human Rights in the UK; a role which is needed now more than ever. This award is also testament to the brilliant work of EHRAC."
On Twitter, many other prominent legal minds lined up to congratulate Professor Leach. Human rights lawyer Shoaib M Khan tweeted "Massive congratulations to the always-excellent @PhilipLeach5", while the UK's Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation added "very well deserved". Non-governmental organisation Media Legal Defence Initiative said: "Congratulations to our founding trustee Phil Leach from fantastic @EHRAC_hq on being named human rights lawyer of the year!"