Who is Amber Turner?
Hello and welcome to Amber Law - let me introduce myself
Having graduated from the Inns of Court School of Law and called to the Honourable Society of Middle Temple in London, I started life as a young Barrister and Acting Solicitor in Gibraltar in 1998.
In 1999, I was selected as one of two lawyers to make up part of Gibraltar's first Public Services Ombudsman Office. The training for the role took place with Malta's Public Services Ombudsman. In 2001, I embarked on a Master’s Degree at Bristol University in four subjects, including Employment Law.
From 2002, I continued litigating at various law firms, mainly in the field of social justice and civil law. I represented juveniles, students, immigrants, clients with housing issues, employees who had been unfairly dismissed (including pregnancy related dismissals), victims of road traffic accidents and personal injury claims, clinical negligence claims, drafted wills, made applications for probate and represented defendants in criminal cases. I was junior counsel on two local murder cases (one involved a long history of domestic violence and addiction) which was interesting, given that the local rate for murder in Gibraltar was one a decade at that time. Gradually, a family and children law practice grew organically and took over other practice areas. Over the years I litigated in the Magistrates Court, Supreme Court and Employment Tribunal of Gibraltar. In the latter, I hold a 100% track record of 'wins' at hearings and also supported my clients in reaching out of court settlements and recorded consent Orders.
Despite the ‘wins’ I realised that on some occasions we were winning the battle but losing the war! ‘Winning’ implies that someone else ‘loses’. The adversarial process fails the litigants in many ways as no-one addresses the elephant in the room. Parties are forced to ‘hide’ behind their respective lawyers but when someone is harmed in some way, the disappointment, hurt, pain and frustration is palpable. In adversarial court rooms there is no procedure for parties to directly address each other, express their feelings and emotions around the incidents. There is no opportunity to restore those damaged relationships; for me there was no opportunity to follow my mission to bring wellbeing and healing to parties harmed by their own history of trauma that had led them to a legal problem or dispute, or harm arising from the advent of the legal problem or dispute.
In 2013, I adopted Socrates' advice - “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” I had been 'fighting' and 'resisting' adversarial structures of legal practice which was both mentally exhausting and emotionally draining. I found that these structures did not serve me, my being submerged on a daily basis in a world of conflict through correspondence and other communications with opponent lawyers and attendances in court and that vitally, they did not serve the clients' best interests either. The client’s interests are what lawyers vow to protect upon entering legal practice.
At one point I suffered burnout due to the friction between what my mind, heart and gut told me was the healthy way for me to manage a client and their case and the at times detrimental effects of the adversarial system both on lawyers and clients alike. I seriously contemplated leaving the legal profession altogether. I watched how some of my contemporaries did leave; disappointed and disheartened. Instead, I took a leap of faith and opened the doors to Amber Law, Gibraltar’s first Holistic Law firm, in March 2013. I incorporated my Holistic Well-being Network of professionals into Amber Law. I had been calling on these since 1998 whilst working for other law firms. It was time to consolidate and integrate this Network as part of Amber Law firm – a first for Gibraltar! The Holistic Well-being Network would continue to support my clients’, their families’ and children’s mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing.
In 2014, I became a UK Accredited Interpersonal Mediator training with Mike Talbot, founder of UK Mediation.
In the first years of Amber Law, I still litigated as 'a last resort'. In 2017, however, I made a promise to myself not to litigate again and instead, to find positive solutions for my clients' legal problems and disputes away from court rooms. I also developed a Holistic Consultancy, applying my Holistic Law Model to a myriad of multifaceted cases.
Amber's Holistic Law Model and the Global Integrative Law Movement
My innovative Holistic Law Model organically grew in response to my clients’ needs practically from 1998 onwards. I have been improving the model throughout a period of 20+ years with the experience gained in representing hundreds of clients and relying on their feedback and thanks to extensive travel to attend and participate in seminars, workshops and retreats, to learn about attaining and sustaining wellbeing for both myself and my clients.
The model includes two main further elements to legal representation: an exploration of the underlying reasons why someone has a legal problem to begin with and provision of a safe space and referral system to a Holistic Well-being Network of wellbeing practitioners with whom the clients can work to co-create a new life path during and after the legal process.
The foundation of the Holistic Law Model was influenced by the Raja Yoga teachings of Sri Patanjali as translated by Sri Swami Satchitananda and taught to me by the spiritual International Yoga Teacher and my mentor, Nalanie Harilela Chellaram. Other sources of influence in the creation of the Holistic Law Model include Feng Shui, Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication Model, the Powerful Non-defensive Communication Model and self-reflective practices including mindfulness and meditation.
Amber has spent over two decades investing in personal and professional development, by travelling extensively to be able to learn from and train with, some of the best teachers and experts on the globe.
I continue researching and reading about, communicating with and meeting those who promote a ‘Holistic’ and ‘Healing’ approach to the practice of law. These amazing individuals include the founder of Collaborative Family Law Stu Webb, Co-Founder of Therapeutic Jurisprudence David Wexler (Bruce Winnick deceased) and mother of the Global Integrative Law Movement J. Kim Wright. Kim is a lawyer and American Bar Association published author of “Lawyers As Peacemakers; Practicing Holistic Problem-Solving Law” and “Lawyers As Changemakers”. These key books share the journeys of the trail-blazers from the 1980s onwards in fields such as Therapeutic Jurisprudence, Collaborative Law, Restorative Justice, Family Group Conferencing and Problem-Solving Courts, to name but a few.
In 2019, I was invited to attend the Therapeutic Jurisprudence (“TJ”) UK Chapter’s first meeting on Therapeutic Jurisprudence at the Open University Milton Keynes. Here I connected with two of UK's TJ pioneers, namely Dr Emma Jones and Dr Anna Kawalek. Both are University Law Lecturers and authors in their own right, publishing “Emotions in the Law School: Transforming Legal Education Through the Passions” and “Problem-Solving Courts, Criminal Justice and the International Gold Standard”, respectively. Meeting Integrative Lawyer and Legal Changemaker, Rhiannon Thomas, led to a personal friendship with J. Kim Wright. For that I am truly grateful. Following that meeting, I was invited as one of five guest speakers to the UK's first TJ Conference, where the keynote Speaker was David Wexler himself!
Memberships and Subscriptions
I am a member of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in London. I am also a Member of the International Society for Therapeutic Jurisprudence (ISTJ) and the Project for Integrating Spirituality, Law and Politics (PISLAP). I am an avid reader of The Conscious Lawyer Magazine founded by UK lawyer Elaine Quinn.
Employment Practice and Workplace Bullying
Since early on in my litigation practice, I have represented employees, employers and Trade Union members in the Employment Tribunal (originally the Industrial Tribunal) of Gibraltar.
The mental, emotional, physical and financial effects of Workplace Bullying on employees and employers, can be devastating. Targets of bullying and co-workers witnessing this conduct may suffer stress and anxiety, become fearful, feel frustrated and impotent, angry, depressed and in extreme cases, suffer death by suicide.
The targets of bullying, their families and co-workers are all affected in what I refer to as, ‘the ripple effect’. It goes without question that this impacts workplace morale, productivity and profitability.
Bullying is so serious that in my view it is everyone’s duty to take individual and collective action to co-create healthy and safe working and learning environments. This is possible with the right education, awareness and training to include Positive Leadership, where everyone is deemed a 'Leader' in their own right."
The Gibraltar Employment (Bullying at Work) Act 2014 provided an avenue for targets of bullying to take legal action. I have successfully acted for both individuals and groups in actions against Workplace Bullying by settling cases fairly and justly, avoiding lengthy and costly (mentally, emotionally, physically and financially) Employment Tribunal Hearings.
In 2019 I was instructed by the Hon Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, QC to lead all the local Unions, the Dignity At Work Now charity and the Gibraltar Police Federation, together with the Chief Minister's Human Resources and Industrial Relations Departments, in a collaborative process of drafting the statute-required Workplace Bullying Policy Handbook for Her Majesty's Gibraltar Government.
Educational, Social Justice and Cultural Community Projects
From the age of 12, I have been engaged in educational, social justice and cultural community projects in Gibraltar promoting family and community values and empowerment. Most projects have been supported by local Government Ministries.
I was President of the LEO Club (Leadership, Experience & Opportunity); Junior Rotary (Rotaract's) Chair of Community Services and Chair of the Gibraltar Women's Association on its 50th Anniversary. I have presented many on-stage events, raising funds for various charities including Breast Cancer (Bosom Buddies Gibraltar) and the International Song Festival. I co-organised the youth dance/ theatre workshops with the Young Americans travelling to Gibraltar and arranged Jamie Catto's 'What About Me' workshop to come to Spain. I have also been invited to judge local competitions involving the Youth and was asked by Cheshire Homes to be one of the mentors taking a group of 17/18 year olds to Tangier, Morocco visiting a home for people with disabilities and an orphanage funded by the charity.
I enjoy connecting and communicating with people from all walks of life. My work and projects have been featured in newspapers, magazines, on radio and on television shows.
My hobbies include dance, yoga, travelling, attending wellbeing conferences and personal development workshops, supporting animal rescue shelters and walking my beautiful rescue dogs Henry, Charlie and Luna.
Through Amber Law’s website and social media platforms, I share my personal and professional knowledge, experience and expertise, thoughts and views. I am most grateful to my former clients and collaborators who have been my best teachers.
For more information about my journey, the amazing and inspirational people I have been blessed to connect with throughout and who are very much an integral part of my life journey, please read our Blog.
Please see what our Clients and Collaborators say about us in our Testimonials section.