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Law firms and aid agencies celebrate partnerships that tackle global poverty

A4ID is pleased to announce the winners of its first pro bono awards. The Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of legal professionals and the development organisations they have worked with in tackling extreme poverty and meeting the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. 

The Legal Partner Award was won by Antonia Horrocks from Shearman & Sterling LLP for her work with Progressio. She supported the international development charity to strengthen its advocacy campaign against illegal logging in South America which has devastating effects for both the environment and the local communities Progressio works with.

As this problem is compounded by the demand for illegal timber from the UK and Europe, the charity wanted support from A4ID to establish a robust piece of EU legislation to address it. The legal advice and guidance provided by Antonia was instrumental in building a case for what has now become Regulation (EU) No. 995/2010 which bans imports of illegal timber to the EU. 

A4ID’s legal partners have helped influence policy decisions, supported social enterprises and empowered local communities in partnership with development organizations across the world. They have offered advice on issues from fair trade to human rights, corruption to the rule of law. 

The winner from the Development Partner category was Tom Sanderson, the UK DirectorA director is responsible for the day-to-day management of a company. Directors are also primarily responsible for the company’s business plan. of Five Talents International, a charity that fights poverty, creates jobs and transforms lives through micro-finance initiatives in developing countries. Through A4ID Tom worked with Simmons & Simmons on several projects including drawing up a membership agreement for the charity’s international board. 

It was Tom’s continuous engagement and involvement of the lawyers across the whole of the organisation’s work that impressed the judges, and which has also created a long-term relationship between Five Talents and Simmons & Simmons spanning several departments, and engaging many lawyers.

A4ID harnesses the skills of the legal profession to combat global poverty. This is done by innovative partnerships between the legal and development sectors, brokering quality legal expertise for the developing world and by engaging lawyers in the role they can play in eradicating poverty. 

Speaking at the event the SolicitorIn some countries lawyers are split into two disciplines: solicitor and barrister. Historically a solicitor advised clients and barristers, who could only be instructed by solicitors, presented cases in court. These distinctions are becoming blurred with barristers advising clients directly and solicitors gaining rights to present cases in courts. General, Edward Garnier QC MP said, “A4ID is a junction box between those in need and those who can give. It ensures people have access to legal support and that the law is harnessed to help individuals and communities meet their basic needs and protect their rights, a vision that is made reality by the commitment and dedication of supportive lawyers.”

Yasmin Batliwala, Chief Executive of A4ID said, “In the five years since it was set up A4ID has already made tremendous strides towards engaging ever increasing numbers of lawyers in the fight against global poverty. Our projects have impacted on 114 countries and more than 300 development organisations, using lawyers’ expertise to find legal solutions to some of the most pressing development challenges.”

The winners were chosen from a shortlist that included solicitors and barristers based in the UK and overseas, large international aid agencies and small local charities. The judging panel was made up of the Director General of the UK’s Department for International Development, Michael Anderson, who spoke on the night of the positive impact lawyers can have on ensuring that international development is sustainable and appropriate, as well as Philip Marsden and Diana Good from A4ID’s Advisory Council.

 

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact Helen Mould on 0044 (0)203 116 2799 or helen.mould@a4id.org

 

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