Advancing human rights and equality
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Meet the PILS Project during UK Pro Bono Week!

Pro bono practitioners joined PILS to celebrate UK Pro Bono Week

There is an ongoing need for pro bono legal support, and a definite hunger among NI legal professionals to carry out this work. These were two clear takeaways from the PILS Project’s first-ever UK Pro Bono Week event, held in Belfast on 7 November.

For 18 years, UK Pro Bono Week events have drawn attention to the innovative work being carried out free of charge by legal professionals around the UK. The Pro Bono Register managed by PILS is a prime example of legal support in action. Guests were joined by two experienced practitioners – Karen Quinlivan QC and Ciaran Moynagh of Phoenix Law – who have first-hand experience of collaborating with PILS members through the Register.

They reflected on their most memorable cases and discussed the emerging areas of law where pro bono support may be needed in the future, such as environmental cases and welfare refomr. In the follow-on conversation that developed, attendees made several observations: that pro bono work is vital as legal aid becomes more restrictive, but that this type of unpaid work should not be viewed as a permanent replacement to a functioning legal aid system; pro bono work can lead to paid work and can expand practitioners’ areas of legal expertise, as well as having wider societal impacts when used in strategic public interest cases.    

To continue the conversation on the need for pro bono work in NI or to learn more about our Pro Bono Register, contact the PILS Project's Development Officer, Sarah Corrigan.


What: Growing Pro Bono in NI – an invitation to meet the PILS Project
When: Thursday 7 November 2019
Where: Law Society House, 96 Victoria St, Belfast BT1 4PE
             (Dunluce Room, 4th Floor)
Time: 17.00 – 18.10
1 CPD Point (general group study)

During UK Pro Bono Week (4 – 8 November 2019), we are inviting NI legal practitioners to join us for a conversation on how they can get involved in the work of our organisation.

The Public Interest Litigation Support Project (PILS) was set up in 2009 to advance human rights and equality through public interest litigation.

One of the initiatives we started to help potential applicants overcome access to justice barriers was our Pro Bono Register. This list of legal practitioners, willing to lend their expertise free of charge, has grown over the years. Many disadvantaged and vulnerable people have been helped as a direct result.

On 7 November, PILS staff and pro bono practitioners Karen Quinlivan QC and Ciaran Moynagh will discuss strategic litigation and why there is a need for legal pro bono work.

No previous pro bono experience is necessary. If you are interested in working with the PILS Project, please come along.


Learn more about the history of the PILS Project in our brand new anniversary video!