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The Paul Foot Award 2019

And the winner is...

EMILY DUGAN, Buzzfeed for the Access To Justice campaign

The Private Eye Paul Foot Award for Investigative and Campaigning Journalism has been awarded to EMILY DUGAN, Buzzfeed for her Access to Justice campaign. Her persistence in reporting the human cost of the degradation of England’s justice and legal aid system won the admiration of the judges and the hostility of government spin doctors, who derided Dugan as “crazy”. Reports of defendants left without lawyers, and apparently malicious withdrawal of legal aid created a picture of a cornerstone of democracy on the brink of disintegration.

Emily Dugan, winner of the 2019 Paul Foot Award for campaigning and investigative journalism, with Ian Hislop.

Ian Hislop, the Editor of Private Eye, said: “A brilliant winner who makes us believe that the Law is an Asset. And a vital threatened one.”

Padraig Reidy, Chair of Judges, The Private Eye Paul Foot Award, said: “Once again it was a pleasure to read the many, many entries to the Paul Foot Award. All our shortlist this year have been inspirational in their determination and insight. Emily Dugan’s brilliant reporting on our broken legal system exposed a litany of failure and a government apparatus designed to cover-up problems instead of addressing them.”

Set up in memory of revered journalist Paul Foot, who died in 2004, the award honours the UK’s most brilliant, talented and determined journalists working in the elds of investigative and campaigning journalism today.

The other finalists for the 2019 award, listed in alphabetical order, were:

Ian Birrell, Mail on Sunday, Autistic youngsters locked up

Richard Brooks, Private Eye, Conservative Party Treasurer

Phil Coleman, Carlisle News and Star, Fake Shrink

Tom Kelly, Daily Mail, Fleeced by fake taxmen

Claire Newell and Team, Daily Telegraph, MeToo Businessman Scandal

This year’s judging panel, chaired by Padraig Reidy, Little Atoms, comprised Julia Langdon, Political Journalist and Broadcaster; Simon Jenkins, The Guardian; Helen Lewis, New Statesman; Francis Wheen, Private Eye; Matt Foot, criminal defence solicitor; Amol Rajan, BBC Media Editor and Amelia Gentleman, The Guardian, who won the 2018 Paul Foot Award.

The winning campaign was awarded £5,000, with the other 5 shortlisted campaigns each receiving £1,000.


The Paul Foot Award was set up in memory of revered investigative journalist Paul Foot, who died in 2004.

Paul Foot, an investigative journalist, editor and left-wing campaigner, worked variously for the Daily Record, the Daily Mirror, The Guardian and Private Eye. He was involved in many high-profile campaigns throughout his illustrious career, including the Birmingham Six, the Bridgewater Four and the John Poulson scandal. His accolades include the Journalist of the Year, the Campaigning Journalist of the Year, the George Orwell Prize for Journalism and in 2000 he was honoured as the Campaigning Journalist of the Decade.

Paul Foot died in 2004 at the age of 66.


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