Zahra Awaiz-Bilal

Zahra specialises in representing survivors of child abuse in their claims against various organisations, which include the Church, local authorities, education authorities, the Scout Association and private institutions as well as in claims directly against the perpetrators of the abuse.  She also represents victims of criminal assaults in their claims for compensation against numerous defendants.

Zahra is a formidable solicitor, determined to exceed her clients’ expectations by ensuring their needs and requirements are at the forefront throughout the claims process.  Her insight into the difficulties her clients experience, as a result of the abuse they have suffered, drives her to push the boundaries to claim for losses which are essential to their recovery.  This has included the cost of camouflage make-up for life, for a client who had severe scarring on her arms due to self-harming and compensation for loss of familial support for a client who suffered abuse and neglect at the hands of social services.  Her tenacity in dealing with her opponents, to achieve the best outcome for her clients often leads to her securing high-value, out of court settlements.

Working with survivors of abuse has equipped Zahra with immense knowledge about the issues which matter to them.  She understands that bringing a claim is not always just about compensation but often, more importantly, about acknowledgment and recognition of the wrong that has been done.  Zahra feels passionately that survivors of abuse should receive an apology from the abusers and/or the organisations which employ them and lead the firm’s #ApologiseNow campaign to change the law to make this a requirement of a civil claim.  She has written extensively on this subject in both the media and legal journals.

Zahra is also passionate about working with the Muslim community, where child abuse continues to be a taboo subject, to shed the light on abuse within mosques and madrassas.  She feels strongly that victims of such abuse should no longer continue to suffer in silence.  Zahra was invited by Voice of Islam radio to discuss this important issue on their breakfast show.  She is also working with the Muslim Women’s Network UK and the Child Sexual Exploitation team at Barnardo’s.

Zahra works closely with a number of other charities to raise awareness of the issues surrounding child abuse and provides training and support to those charities on the civil claims process.

Zahra read Law at The London School of Economics before completing a Masters degree in Medical Law and Ethics at Queen Mary’s College, University of London, where she was awarded a distinction.  Zahra completed the Legal Practice course at BPP Law School, where she was awarded a commendation.

Reported cases

KCR v The Scout Association [2016] EWHC 587 (QB) – successful claim for damages for a former scout.  First case where the High Court ruled a claimant did not have to give “credit” for gifts received during the course of the abuse.

(1) LXA and (2) BXL v (1) Mrs Cynthia Willcox as Personal Representative of the Estate of Edward Willcox (Deceased) and (2) Mrs Cynthia Willcox [2018] EWHC 2256 (QB) – successful claim for damages by siblings against their adoptive parents.  In the criminal court, the first defendant had been found ‘not guilty’ of raping the second claimant but the High Court held that, on the balance of probabilities, he had raped the second claimant on one occasion and considered this an aggravating factor when assessing damages.   

JQA v NB [2018] EWHC 2583 (QB) – successful claim for damages for abuse by an adoptive father.  The High Court provided useful guidance on the assessment of witness evidence in abuse cases and made particularly poignant observations as to how properly to assess the actions of a vulnerable child in response to abuse.

  • Media contributions and commentary

The Times – Football sex abuse survivors should, by law, receive an apology

The Huffington Post – Every victim of abuse deserves an apology

The Huffington Post – Turning up the volume on sexual assaults at music festivals#

Journal of Personal Injury Law – The duty of candour and apologies as a legal remedy
Association of Child Abuse Lawyers Newsletter – An apology should be a legal remedy in child abuse claims

Professional Memberships

  • Association of Child Abuse Lawyers
  • Association of Personal Injury Lawyers – accredited Senior Litigator
  • Association of Muslim Lawyers
  • Muslim Women’s Network UK
  • Zahra has helped Paul from beginning to end in such a kind, caring and professional way and if I could I would sing her praises from the highest roof top


  • “Zahra was incredible. She was attentive from start to finish, was always in contact and gave good advice whenever needed. She was brilliant.”

    Abuse Client

  • "Now that my settlement has reached its closure with an offer that has resulted in my extreme satisfaction, I would like to take a minute to thank you. From day one you have worked so hard for me to get the settlement I felt I deserved and I was so impressed with the way you handled everything and always so very promptly. To put it bluntly, you are a masterful multi-tasker as I know I am not your only client. Thank you Zahra and your firm Bolt, Burdon and Kemp for all your hard work, expertise, endurance and compassion."

    Lorraine, Abuse Client

  • “Hi Zahra, I think I will struggle to put into words my gratitude to you. You have been amazing from the first minute of contact. The world is a much better place to have you in it. Your compassion, empathy, understanding and guidance means the world to me. Thank you so so much. You have a very special gift and you will help so many”.


  • I have been really impressed with BBK.  I am so happy that I now have something to leave my grandchildren in my will.  Everyone I dealt with was amazing, pleasant and helpful.  You’ve all been absolutely brilliant, my claim was dealt with really quickly, and I couldn’t fault the service.


  • "Zahra worked incredibly hard to ensure my expectations were met and kept me well informed with telephone calls and emails throughout the process of my claim. I was always kept in the loop and was made to feel that my input was important. I was always dealt with in a professional manner throughout and was made aware of time scales. I can now say that we have settled the claim and I am exceedingly happy and relieved. Thanks"


  • “Zahra surpassed every expectation I have ever had and is truly a credit to your firm. Her work ethic and dedication has been exceptional."

    Matthew Clearwater

  • “Zahra has been extremely supportive and understanding throughout the duration of my case. For the first time in my life I felt that I was being taken seriously and that gave me the strength and the courage to see my case through to the end. Zahra explained everything to me about what my case would involve and she was always on hand to answer any questions that I had. My case settled out of court and I was able to walk away knowing that I had found some justice for the girl I once was. With the help and support of Zahra and her team, I was able to stand up for myself and start to release some of the guilt and the shame that I never should have experienced. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Zahra and her team for all of their hard work. I can now look forward to a brighter future. A future without guilt and shame. Thank you so much for helping me to reclaim my life”.


  • "Dear Zahra, I can't thank you enough for your continued support and determination. I couldn't have done it without you. I am very pleased with the outcome. All the best for the future."

    Claire Child Abuse client

  • Thank you for your hard work, dedication, perseverance and care.  You have shown a high level of professionalism and attention to detail.  It’s actually hard for me to believe that it has now all come to an end.  I hope this means that we can truly close this chapter and move forward with our lives.


  • I was put in touch with Zara Awaiz-Bilal and immediately understood how caring, empathetic and professional she was in her job nothing was too much trouble for her, she even contacted me when she was away in Scotland on holiday as I had a question.

    Mr D

  • Without Zahra's persuasive negotiating skills in receiving compensation and an apology letter (over 45 years late perhaps) from the Scout Association as well as the sensitive, professional and thorough manner in which she dealt with myself and my witnesses, none of this would have been possible.


  • “Dear Zahra, thank you for your kindness and patience in dealing with my brother’s case. I know he feels justice has been done. We shall always be grateful to Bolt Burdon Kemp for taking on the case at a time when no-one else would become involved. Be assured of our gratitude for all the work you did”

    Child Abuse Client

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