When an old friend of mine, Peter Herbert, contacted me about the sad passing of a close friend and colleague, I was curious to find out more about her. During my research I discovered that Tanoo Mylvaganam was a determined woman with a strong commitment to social justice and equality. She was also one of the first black or Asian women to be called to the Bar. The year was 1983, when you couldn’t count on one hand other lawyers with her background.
Peter is a lawyer and Chair of the Black Lawyers Society. His relationship with Tanoo, touched not only his life but hundreds of people across the legal profession and is remembered by the many people and their families she successfully defended over the years.
Tanoo was born in Sri Lanka in 1956, and lived in Nigeria and Hong Kong for most of her school years until she came to the UK. Called to the Bar in 1983 she became a formidable force working in criminal, human rights, family and immigration law to name a few areas of her expertise. Committed to social justice and equality she defended women on the front line of Greenham Common in the early ‘80’s as well the Miners Strike. She also practiced at an international level including at the Bermuda Bar, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Special Court of Sierra Leone.
Peter Herbert, spoke to me about Tanoo’s contribution to the legal profession as well as his admiration for her as a hardworking, tenacious and dedicated lawyer.