15 October 2018
Some 20 barristers, including 7 senior counsel, provided assistance to the Clann Project in the development of its final report which has been published today, Ireland’s Unmarried Mothers and their Children: Gathering the Data.
This pro-bono assistance was provided through The Bar of Ireland’s Voluntary Assistance Scheme (VAS), which is exclusively to enable access to justice for charities, NGOs and civic society groups.
The Clann Project comprises the Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA), Justice for Magdalenes Research (JFMR) and global law firm, Hogan Lovells. It is a voluntary project which, over the last 3 years, spoke to 164 people separated from their family members through Ireland’s forced, secret adoption system and other historical abuses. Their work has now culminated in a 154 page report, and 8 recommendations to the Mother and Baby Homes Commission of Investigation.
A recent survey highlighted that 82% of members of The Bar of Ireland have participated in pro-bono work. While this work does not demonstrate an endorsement of the organisation they provide the assistance to, members of the Bar of Ireland recognise that in order for any legal system to operate at its optimum level, access must be available to all members of society and unfortunately vulnerable sections of society often encounter difficulties in accessing the legal system and require their pro-bono services.