IBA announces first recipients of IBA International frontline legal aid fund

Thursday 22 April 2021

The International Bar Association (IBA) and the IBA Foundation have announced the first charities to receive either GBP 10,000 or USD 10,000 from a new funding programme set up to support frontline legal aid providers around the world during the COVID-19 crisis.

Sternford Moyo, IBA President and Senior Partner and Chairman at Zimbabwean law firm Scanlen & Holderness, commented: ‘The chosen charities represent the manifold needs of people seeking help and whose difficult circumstances have often been sharply amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. They are the most vulnerable people in societies and are being denied full access to justice as legal aid is cut in many jurisdictions. I am delighted that, with the support of IBA members, we have been able to provide a financial contribution to the essential work of legal aid teams, and that through the invaluable assistance of our international law firm group members, charities with diverse focus and geographical spread have been identified to receive portions of this funding.’

The work of one charity has lawyers working for free in the public interest, as they understand the potency of law as an instrument for social change and policy reform. For another, the focus is to provide a complete legal service for an underprivileged section of society, including criminal law and civil law. Another of the charities provides independent legal advice to asylum seekers, while delivering legal services and other support to low-income, immigrant families seeking protection from persecution and violence, as well as help with education, gaining citizenship and family reunification. There is also a charity that tackles racial and economic injustice through access to legal services, combined with policy modification, improved housing, healthcare and opportunity, and another charity working on election protection and the prosecution of hate crimes, among other things. Other aid organisations are busy safeguarding human rights and promoting access to justice, which ensures that the rule of law is upheld.

Now that the IBA has completed the due diligence process, the recipient charities that will each receive GBP 10,000 appear below alongside the nominating law firm(s).

IBA Funded Charities

Nominating IBA Group Member law firm

Comisión de Trabajo Pro Bono e Interés Público (Argentina)

Allende & Brea; Beccar Varela; and Marval O'Farrell & Mairal

European Lawyers in Lesvos (Greece)

Allen & Overy; Dentons; and White & Case

Kituo cha Sheria (Kenya)

AB & David

North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (Australia)

King & Wood Mallesons

Foro Penal (Venezuela)

Hoet & Partners

Fundación Pro Bono Chile (Chile)

Cariola Diez Perez-Cotapos

The first seven charities to each receive USD 10,000, having successfully completed the due diligence process, appear below.

IBA Foundation Supported Charities


Center for Court Innovation

Debevoise & Plimpton

El Pueblo

IBA Foundation

Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center

Gibson Dunn

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Kirkland & Ellis

Mississippi Center for Justice

IBA Foundation

Public Counsel

Gibson Dunn

The Texas Civil Rights Project

IBA Foundation

Hansel T Pham, President of the IBA Foundation, commented: ‘We are delighted to be supporting the IBA in providing financial resources to an excellent list of charities doing incredible work protecting civil rights and upholding the rule of law. These first seven charities embody the resilience of the North American legal community, as they continue to strive for justice for all, during these difficult times.’

IBA Executive Director Mark Ellis said: ‘At a time when our headlines are dominated by political and economic concerns, it behoves us to remember that many people continue to face pressing legal challenges affecting their immediate liberty and civil rights. This fund represents the collective effort of the IBA to support the ongoing vital work of frontline legal charities, despite the unprecedented challenges brought on by the pandemic. We are delighted to be able to play our part.’

Eric Rugundu, IBA Client Relationship Manager, Group Members, added: ‘My thanks to our group members for identifying these charities who are doing phenomenal work under extraordinary circumstances. It has been my privilege to facilitate this donation process for such worthy causes.’

In June 2020, the IBA, supported by its United States-based charitable arm, the IBA Foundation, announced the allocation of GBP 100,000 and USD 100,000 respectively for a fund to assist legal aid entities. IBA Group Members – the world’s prominent law firms signed to the IBA – were asked to identify frontline legal aid providers that should be awarded a portion of the funding.

Some 40 charities were nominated by IBA Group Member firms and considered by a committee consisting of members of the IBA Executive team and senior officers of the Legal Practice Division and Section on Public and Professional Interest.


Notes to the Editor

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  2. The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice.

    The IBA acts as a connector, enabler, and influencer, for the administration of justice, fair practice, and accountability worldwide. The IBA has collaborated on a broad range of ground-breaking, international projects with the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, The Commonwealth, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, among others.

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  4. The International Bar Association Foundation is a US-based charitable foundation, established in 1986 by members of the IBA to engage in educational and charitable activities related to advancing the rule of law. The Foundation was reorganised in 2017 to be a supporting organisation of the IBA. Under the new structure, the Foundation now focuses its efforts to support major IBA rule of law initiatives initiated by the IBA.

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