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Ukraine at IX European Pro Bono Forum: sharing experience and generating new ideas
  • Written by Olena Orlova, IRC “Legal Space”
  • Published in  Events
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Representatives of Ukrainian delegation at Rome Pro Bono Forum Photo by Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation
Representatives of Ukrainian delegation at Rome Pro Bono Forum

For three days, on November 11-13, 2015 Pro Bono experts shared about their experience and generated new ideas at the 9th European Pro Bono Forum in Rome. Ukrainian Pro Bono exchange was presented by Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU).

In forum experts’ opinion Pro Bono is not only part of a lawyer’s job of, but an extremely broad term. Opening the Forum, Director of PILnet in Europe Atanas Politov and Pro Bono solicitor from the UK Irene Khan noted:

“Pro Bono may not be taken outside the context of the legal profession. Pro Bono stream should be within the framework of big non-governmental organizations and legal organizations that may affect the formation of legal education and their principles. If we as a self-regulatory organization want to create Pro Bono culture, we need to get in touch with big legal organizations such as bar associations that are the key ones and are a tool of development and identification of best practices of transparency, equal opportunities and access to justice”.

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Rome. IX European Pro Bono Forum. Second day. Photo by Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation.

UX Pro Bono at the Forum was presented by the executive director of the Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation Mykola Sìoma, executive director of UHHRU Arkadiy Bushchenko, program director of UHHRU Maksym Shcherbatyuk. They briefed the experience of Pro Bono in Ukraine, presented the printed materials describing the opportunities of UX Pro Bono.

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Mykola Sìoma, speaking at the session of the third day, told about UX Pro Bono and cases, which they managed to win due to the work of the Exchange. Photo: Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation.

“After the events of 2014-2015, Maidan and war in Eastern and Southern Ukraine Ukrainian society is really looking forward to timely and quality legal aid. To some extent this demand may be satisfied with system of free legal aid run by the Government, public and donor organizations. But the successful implementation of these initiatives can be carried out with the support of socially responsible legal business Pro Bono”, said Mykola Sìoma.

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Printed materials from UX ProBono. Photo by Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation.

Representatives of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union presented cases of the Foundation for Strategic Affairs*. Maksym Shcherbatyuk considers the most important thing at this forum the Pro Bono development in Europe, the possibility of disseminating best practices and contacts with colleagues from NGOs and big law firms that are interested in Pro Bono. For example, a big law firm DLA Piper in partnership with community organizations that are engaged in refugee issues, helps Pro Bono solve problems of large numbers of these people.

In total, over three days, Forum participants considered the crisis of migrants in Europe, Pro Bono in Italy, global objectives of Pro Bono, freedom movement of LGBT communities and other social issues related to Pro Bono.

*Presentation in English attached to the article.

The article is based on materials of ulaf.org.ua and pro-bono.in.ua

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