An “excellent” law student has become the first recipient of an award created in memory of a “kind and generous” Aberdeen lawyer and charity champion.
Aberdeen University student Tarken James Moore was selected as the worthy first winner of the Theresa Hunt Excellence Prize in public law after completing his degree with first class honours.
The award was established as a lasting legacy of “greatly missed” mother-of-two Theresa Hunt, who died in July last year aged 40.
Mrs Hunt, who was an Aberdeen University law graduate herself, dedicated most of her time as a solicitor with Burness Paull’s specialist planning law team to developing new talent in the legal profession.
In a drive to create a “positive thing” in a time of sadness, her family decided to continue her work by supporting students who show strong academic performance in line with her professional interests.
‘I am delighted’
Mr Moore, who won the award along with a £1,000 cheque for his dissertation on Parliamentary Sovereignty in the Dominion of Canada: A Divergent Perspective, said it was a “huge honour” to be the first to ever get it.
He said: “I am delighted to be the first winner of the Theresa Hunt Excellence Prize. It is a huge honour to win a prize in the name of someone who contributed so much to the profession during her career.”
Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, he spent more than three years in the Canadian armed forces before moving to Aberdeen to begin his undergraduate studies.
During his last year as a law student, Mr Moore excelled as the School of Law’s convener and sat on the university senate’s undergraduate committee.
Now having completed his degree, he has continued his journey in the legal profession as a legislative and policy director to MP David Yurdiga in the Parliament of Canada.
Professor Greg Gordon, head of School of Law at the university, said: “I was delighted to work with Burness Paull to establish The Theresa Hunt Excellence Prize in public law.
“Theresa is remembered here with great fondness and it is an honour for the Law School to be able to celebrate Theresa’s memory in a way that also recognises our students’ achievements.
“Tarken is a very worthy recipient of the inaugural prize, and has set a high standard for future winners.
“I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the school to congratulate Tarken once again on his achievement, and to thank Burness Paull and Theresa’s family for their generous support of our students.”
Theresa Hunt hailed as ‘inspiration’ for young talent in the legal profession
Hailed as an “inspiring role model”, Mrs Hunt spent her whole career with Burness Paull at its Aberdeen office, originally joining its legacy firm Paull and Williamson as a trainee in 2002 and enrolling as a solicitor in 2004.
Latterly, Mrs Hunt represented clients involved in major planning projects in the north-east and led the firm’s licensing practice, appearing regularly in high profile hearings across the UK.
Described by colleagues as a talented, diligent and dedicated lawyer, Mrs Hunt’s years of service were rewarded in 2019, when she became a partner at Burness Paull.
John Strachan, head of the Burness Paull’s commercial real estate division, who worked alongside Mrs Hunt, said the award was a reflection of her devotion and talent.
He said: “Theresa is a greatly missed friend and colleague to all at Burness Paull and many others in the legal and property communities.
“Theresa was well-known both for the high standards she set for herself and others, and for her generous devotion of time to encouraging, mentoring and developing new entrants to the legal profession.
“The prize is a fitting reflection of Theresa’s talents and interests. It is pleasing to see the first award of the prize go to such an impressive winner in Tarken, who we congratulate and wish well in the next stage of a promising legal career.”
Mrs Hunt’s husband Chris Hunt added: “The whole family would like to thank Burness Paull and the University of Aberdeen for making this award possible.
“Theresa would have been humbled to have this award in her name. She is missed every day, but this is an unbelievably positive thing to come out of the sadness of her passing.
“It was lovely to meet Tarken, a worthy winner of the award, we wish him all the best for the future.”