Winner 2019

European Lawyers in Lesvos

The Award for Local Pro Bono Impact honors individual lawyers and law firms who have made an exceptional effort to use their skills for the benefit of their local community. Among the five projects shortlisted this year, European Lawyers in Lesvos was bestowed the award. The European Lawyers in Lesvos, a team of Greek asylum lawyers and volunteer European asylum lawyers, provided free, independent legal assistance to refugees on Lesvos, helping over 9,000 people to date.

The European Lawyers in Lesvos (ELIL), a team of Greek asylum lawyers and volunteer European asylum lawyers, provide free, independent legal assistance to refugees on Lesvos. ELIL’s belief is that every asylum seeker should be able to receive free legal assistance from an independent lawyer experienced in asylum law before their asylum interview. So far, 156 European lawyers from 17 countries have volunteered with ELIL, and alongside its team of full-time, permanent Greek asylum lawyers, have provided free legal assistance to over 9,000 people. ELIL also helps reunite families by assisting with family reunification applications under the Dublin Regulation. In addition, ELIL provides outreach and three group legal information sessions in Moria each month, each of which is usually attended by approximately 25 people. These outreach activities and group legal information sessions are targeted to marginalized and vulnerable groups that face obstacles in accessing legal information and legal assistance, primarily unaccompanied women and unaccompanied minors. ELIL has also recently prepared a legal information leaflet in collaboration with Oxfam and the Greek Council for Refugees, which was translated into 10 languages. ELIL is currently distributing 13,000 copies of this leaflet to asylum seekers on Lesvos.

Shortlisted Projects

Four tremendous projects were shortlisted for this award.