Clifford Chance commendation will allow MDAC to secure justice for more people

MDAC is delighted to announce that leading international law firm Clifford Chance has awarded us a Commendation under its Access to Justice Award. The Commendation means that MDAC will benefit from up to 500 hours of pro bono assistance from the firm’s global network of lawyers to fight for the rights of people with mental disabilities.

Commendation awarded by international law firm Clifford Chance will allow MDAC to achieve justice for more people.

Oliver Lewis, MDAC Executive Director said “Over 100,000 people in the Czech Republic are subjected to dehumanising conditions in disability institutions, locked up and segregated from their families. The partnership with Clifford Chance will help us and our civil society allies put pressure on the authorities to stop abuses happening now and enable everyone to live independent, flourishing lives.”

As an international human rights organisation using the law to advance the rights of people with mental disabilities, the support of law firms such as Clifford Chance provide an important way of scaling up work and gaining systemic change. Institutionalisation, segregated education, and denial of equal recognition before the law are all widespread problems globally, affecting millions of people with mental disabilities. MDAC's strategic litigation tackles discriminatory laws, policies which strip people of their personhood and shines a light on abuses which frequently remain hidden in psychiatric and social care institutions.

MDAC played a key role in the negotiations which resulted in the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006. To date, the Convention has 151 parties, including the European Union. Yet, particularly in relation to people with intellectual disabilities and people with mental health issues, equality is still far off. Many countries systematically deny them access to justice, resulting in serious abuse, exploitation and denial of even the basic rights of citizenship.

Specialising in domestic and international strategic litigation and advocacy, MDAC will draw on the five hundred pro bono hours offered by Clifford Chance lawyers to strengthen our litigation to achieve justice for more people. Roger Leese, pro bono partner at Clifford Chance, said: "We are proud to announce The Equality Effect as the winner of our 2014 Access to Justice Award and are delighted that this year we have been able to award a Commendation to MDAC. We are excited to work with e2 and MDAC, which, while in different spheres, share our commitment to expanding access to justice for society's most vulnerable."

To read Clifford Chance’s press release, click here.


Pro bono assistance helps MDAC achieve justice - can you help us?

MDAC is constantly seeking the support of lawyers and their networks in order to create real change people through the courts. Please get in touch if you think you or your law firm may be able to provide us with legal or other forms of support. Law firms can support us in a number of ways, including:

  • Carrying out international and comparative legal research across domestic jurisdictions
  • Identification, gathering and evaluating evidence for potential legal claims
  • Indentification and drafting of legal arguments, including amicus curiae submissions
  • Directly inputting into litigation strategies to tackle widespread human rights violations
  • Coming on record as lead or co-counsel for our clients
  • Providing case commentaries or other materials for international and legal publicity
  • Hosting awareness-raising events with lawyers, clients and others
  • Providing a range of non-legal supports such as IT supports.


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