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PILnet Award for HFHR’s Strategic Litigation Programme

The HFHR’s Strategic Litigation Programme has won the European Award for Partnership in the Public Interest bestowed by the  Public Interest Law Network (PILnet) for the most effective public-interest collaboration with law firms in 2011. The Award was handed out during the 2011 European Pro Bono Forum in Berlin held on 17-18 November in Berlin.

PILnet is a global organisation acting to strengthen civil society through inspiring and engaging lawyers in public interest actions. The Pro Bono Award is given in recognition of the best legal project undertaken jointly between a non-governmental organisation and a law firm in Europe.

The Strategic Litigation Programme was awarded together with Dewey & Le Boeuf, the law firm partnering with the SLP. Together, they handled the pro-bono case of a police officer dismissed on the grounds of being HIV-positive.

The case resulted in a favourable decision of the Constitutional Tribunal which confirmed that legal regulations providing for an automatic dismissal of officers with HIV had been unconstitutional. Finally, the policeman was restored to work. He is still employed on the force. This case is a representative sample of the Foundation’s actions undertaken as part of the Strategic Litigation Programme. It is an excellent example of HFHR partnership with more than 15 law offices and 100 individual lawyers.

‘In a moment like this, you have the overwhelming impression that a complex mechanism of NGOs working with law firms to advance public interest really works’, said Dr Adam Bodnar, HFHR Deputy President, on receiving the award.

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