New all-Ireland legal guides to assist NGOs

New all-Ireland legal guides to assist NGOs

A series for legal guides for NGOs across the two jurisdictions on the island of Ireland have been launched by the Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA), a project of legal rights group FLAC.

The first-of-its-kind cross-border project was completed in collaboration with the Public Interest Litigation Support (PILS) Project in Northern Ireland and Arthur Cox LLP.

A panel of solicitors and barristers made up of Cathy Smith SC, Cliona M Boland BL, Rithika Moore-Vadera BL, David Keane, Conrad Bryan and Leesha O’Driscoll BL reviewed the guides before publication.

The five guides cover being appointed an amicus in the Irish court system; individual non-court complaint mechanisms at the EU level; engaging with UN special procedures mandate holders; taking individual complaints to UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies; and judicial review.

Eilis Barry, chief executive of FLAC, 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 utilise important human rights mechanisms in order to further the rights, and improve the circumstances of their service users.”

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.”

Maria MacCloskey, director of The PILS Project, said: “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!”

Geoff Moore, managing partner at Arthur Cox, said: “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.”

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