FLAC’s Public Interest Law Alliance launches new All-Ireland Legal Guides for NGOs
13 September 2022
On Wednesday, the 14th of September 2022 at 10am, PILA, a project of FLAC, will officially launch a series of legal Guides for NGOs across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The first of its’ kind, this cross-border project was done in collaboration with the Public Interest Litigation Support (PILS) Project in Northern Ireland and Arthur Cox LLP.
Speaking ahead of the official launch event, FLAC CE, Eilis Barry said,
“I am delighted to see these Guides come to fruition. Access to justice requires access to information in the first instance. Many NGOS may not have ease of access to technical legal information about access to Courts and Human rights Treaty bodies. These guides will be a valuable resource for NGOs to navigate and utilize important human rights mechanisms in order to further the rights, and improve the circumstances of their service users.
Following the launch, these Guides will be available online on the PILA and The PILS Project’s websites.
Shamika Dwarika, PILA’s Pro Bono Development Manager said,
“The Guides seek to inform NGOs about the legal recourses available to them. They contain practical examples in the form of case studies which will assist NGOs in understanding and identifying appropriate legal remedies. By collaborating with The PILS Project and Arthur Cox, we seek to ensure that these Guides are a comprehensive resource for NGOs across the whole island of Ireland seeking to engage with the law.”
Having identified a need for this resource for NGOs, PILA partnered with key players in the pro bono sector to prepare this series of 5 Guides:
- An NGO Guide to being appointed an Amicus in the Irish court system
- An NGO guide to individual non-court complaint mechanisms at the EU level
- An NGO guide for engaging with UN Special Procedures mandate holders
- An NGO guide for taking individual complaints to UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies
- An NGO Guide to Judicial Review
Maria MacCloskey, Director for The PILS Project,
“The series of guides share real-life examples of how human rights organisations have used these legal tools in their daily work to create change. But PILA and PILS aren’t suggesting that organisations who are new to the processes have to go through the experience alone. We encourage our NGO networks to contact us – our pro bono schemes can help!”
Fundamental to the success of the Guides, was the pro bono assistance received from the team at Arthur Cox and the barrister and solicitors who formed the peer review panel. Managing Partner at Arthur Cox, Geoff Moore commented,
“Access to justice is an integral part of our pro bono practice. All our lawyers are encouraged to use their legal skills to tackle the most complex and challenging social issues in our community. The All Ireland Guide engagement series has enabled us to apply our skills and knowledge to support the NGO sector. Through our partnership with the PILS Project and PILA we have developed important resources to help people gain access to justice and we are proud of the difference we can make together.”
It is envisaged that through engagement with the Guides, NGOs will attain a level of familiarity and confidence in dealing with these legal remedies and potentially identify areas of research needed. Ultimately, the Guides seek to support NGOs working on the frontline to provide a better delivery of services to those in need.
FLAC and PILA would like to thank the Peer Review Panel who reviewed these guides before publication. They are:
Cathy Smith SC
Cliona M Boland BL
Rithika Moore-Vadera BL
Leesha O’ Driscoll BL
Shamika Dwarika, PILA Manager, FLAC
Phone : 085 767 8467
Email : email@example.com
- You can register to attend the launch in person at The FLAC office on Dorset Street by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or to attend online you can register here https://bit.ly/PilaNGOGuidelaunch
- More information on the NGO Engagement Guide Series and the launch of the Guides is available at https://www.pila.ie/resources/all-ireland-ngo-legal-engagement-guide-series.html
- FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) is an Irish human rights organisation which exists to promote equal access to justice for all. FLAC offers basic legal information through its telephone information line (1890 350 250). Free legal advice is available from volunteer lawyers through a countrywide network of advice clinics (these clinics are currently conducted over the phone) – more at www.flac.ie/help/. FLAC provides legal representation in a small number of cases in the public interest. FLAC provides legal advice directly to members of both the Roma Community and the Irish Traveller Community via specialist legal clinics. FLAC engages in policy work in areas of law that most impact on disadvantaged groups and including consumer credit, personal debt, and fairness in social welfare law, public interest law and civil legal aid. It also operates the public interest law project. PILA.
- PILA (Public Interest Law Alliance), a project of FLAC, is a public interest law network that seeks to engage the legal community and civil society in using the law to advance social change. It operates a pro bono referral scheme for social justice organisations in Ireland – read more at www.pila.ie In 2022, PILA is supported by, amongst others, its Sustaining Partners: A&L Goodbody, Arthur Cox and McCann Fitzgerald and Supporting Partner: Eversheds Sutherland.
Established in 2009, The PILS Project (https://pilsni.org) is a Human rights organisation based in Northern Ireland. who bring human rights organisations and legal professionals together. The Public Interest Litigation Support (PILS) Project was established in 2009 to provide human rights NGOs and local solicitor firms in Northern Ireland with legal and financial support for public interest cases. More information on PILS' services, including its Pro Bono Register, is available at pilsni.org