On May 26 and 27, PILnet organized and hosted a meeting of the European Pro Bono Alliance (EPBA), a collaborative network of European clearinghouses and pro bono initiatives. At this in-person meeting in Budapest, the alliance renewed their commitment to work together to support and promote the work of its members and to strengthen, champion, and inform the European pro bono movement. 

The EPBA recently worked together in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to collect and share resources on the rights and legal remedies available to help people fleeing from Ukraine, which has been accessed on the EPBA website more than 700 times to date. Building from this momentum, the members of the Alliance are strengthening their cooperation and exploring new thematic projects on which they could collaborate.

For instance, at this meeting, PILnet and Alliance des Avocats pour les Droits de l’Homme (AADH) presented CLEAR-Rights: Enhancing legal assistance and access to justice for children in conflict with the law in Europe. The goal of this project is to improve equal access to a lawyer for children suspected or accused of crime through strengthening access to pro bono legal assistance. To achieve that goal, an EU-Child Justice Clearinghouse will be launched later this year, and the EPBA discussed creating a working group to support this initiative.

Dr. Szilvia Gyurkó, founder of Hintolovon and prominent child rights expert, also presented soon to be launched tools developed by Dentons to help more lawyers provide pro bono assistance to children, including a Beginner’s Guide to Building Pro Bono Partnerships, Model Code of Conduct, and a Model Child Safeguarding Policy. This presentation led to an in-depth session creating safeguarding policies for frontline NGOs and clearinghouses, another potential collaborative project hosted by the EPBA. 

Once a mechanism just for sharing information, the Alliance is now working towards a true partnership, taking action together achieve their common goals.

Photo credit to Zsuzsa Darab