2013 European Pro Bono Awards

PILnet honors exemplary pro bono achievements

25 October 2013

On 24 October PILnet introduced the newest generation of European Pro Bono Award winners in a ceremony held as part of the 7th annual European Pro Bono Forum. PILnet presented Dominque Attias, Jean-Luc Bedos and Denis Chemla with lifetime achievement awards for their extraordinary contributions to the development of pro bono culture, and Caritas Austria received the Award for Exemplary Partnership in the Public Interest. The accolades were presented at the Royal Castle of Warsaw.

2013awardstory1The European Award for Extraordinary Contribution to the Development of Pro Bono Culture was bestowed on three members of the French legal community who are leading figures in the European pro bono movement. Dominique Attias was honored for her work in making the Paris Bar one of the most proactive bar associations in Europe supporting and encouraging pro bono work. Equally deserving of the lifetime award are the joint efforts of Jean-Luc Bedos and Denis Chemla. Under their guidance, the NGO Droits d’Urgence became an early leader among Paris-based pro bono initiatives, fostering the expansion of pro bono in Paris and Europe and providing access to justice without discrimination. Thanks to the laureates’ critical support, PILnet’s 2010 European Pro Bono Forum in Paris—the first in Western Europe—was a rousing success, and they have contributed substantially to the Forum’s prosperity in the following years.2013awardstory2

Caritas Austria received the third annual European Award for Exemplary Partnership in the Public Interest in recognition of their project with the Austrian Asylum Lawyers’ Network. Since its establishment in 1993, the Network has developed into an intensive collaboration between eight Austrian NGOs and ten lawyers across Austria who take on legal representation of select indigent asylum seekers. The Network focuses primarily on proceedings before the Austrian High Courts and the European Court for Human Rights. In addition to the provision of professional legal representation, the Network aims to set precedents for national case law, particularly through challenging legal standards and practices that are not in line with international human rights law. The Austrian Asylum Lawyers’ Network, in cooperation with Caritas, has demonstrated extraordinary commitment and leadership, paving the way to realizing the full potential of pro bono, not only in Austria but throughout Europe. 

Dr. Helmut Blum accepted the partnership award on behalf of the nine other individual honorees: Dr. Julia Ecker; Mag. Wilfried Embacher; Dr. Max Kapferer; Mag. Christof Korp; Mag. Clemens Lahner; Mag. Nadja Lorenz; Dr. Gerhard Mory; Mag. Michael Schuszter; and Mag. Peterpaul Suntinger.