We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to improve and customise your experience, where applicable. View our Cookies Policy. Click Accept and continue to use our website or Manage to review and update your preferences.

PILA to press for removal of ‘barriers’

13 Oct 2020 / justice Print

PILA to press for removal of law ‘barriers’

The Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA) has called for lawyers to be given the tools they need to improve the lives of those on the margins of society.

The group was set up by Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) in 2009 with the aim of extending the reach of the law to those who are marginalised and disadvantaged.


Launching a report highlighting its impact over the past decade, PILA’s strategic and development manager, Rachel Power (small picture), said dismantling the barriers to public interest law would continue to be a key part of its work over the next decade.

“We believe that introducing measures like multi-party actions, relaxing the laws on standing to allow NGOs bring actions on behalf of their clients, and developing the use of protective costs orders would go a long way towards ensuring our lawyers have the tools needed to effectively fight to improve the lives of the most marginalised and disadvantaged in our courts,” she said.


PILA also aims to combine the legal needs of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with the expertise of lawyers.

Through its Pro Bono Referral Scheme, 310 NGOs have received support through 800 legal advice and litigation matters and 45 law reform working groups.

Around 2,000 NGO staff have also received training in the law relevant to their clients and services.

Housing and homelessness

PILA says the most common concerns referred to it are linked to housing and homelessness, migration and disability rights.

Its report — Challenging Injustice, Championing Change: PILA Impact Report 2009-2019 — details a number of success stories, including recognition of employment rights for au pairs, the passing of the Traveller Culture and History in Education Bill 2018, and the right to a secret ballot for people who are visually impaired.

FLAC chief executive Eilis Barry said that while pro bono legal work cannot and should not replace an adequately funded system of civil legal aid, it has proved vital in addressing the unmet legal need of those left behind by the current justice system.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland