Pro Bono

Pro bono is a fundamental principle of our firm. We are proud to contribute to our local communities and society at large changing lives for the better.

Helping those who need it most

Each year we handle a number of pro bono cases which either have a profound social significance, or that address a fundamental legal principle. They also frequently involve complex issues of civil, administrative or human rights law.

These cases are handled free of charge or at significantly reduced rates and we are proud that our lawyers invest their time and energy to assist those who would otherwise be unable to receive such counsel. As part of this process our Pro Bono Committee selects cases that are based on a list of criteria. Firstly the case must hold demonstrable social significance or set a legal precedent. Next, the party concerned must have limited financial resources and is not entitled to receive legal aid. We must also believe that we can provide clear added value through our specialist knowledge and expertise. Finally, we are careful to ensure there is no conflict of interest with our existing clients.

Every year, our partners and associates continue to play an active role in various pro bono matters, taking on cases that make a real difference to individuals, and local and national organisations. We invite you to read through the small selection of pro bono cases we have undertaken below.

For more information, please contact Stibbe’s Pro Bono Committee:

Amsterdam T +31 20 546 06 45
Brussels T +32 2 533 53 28

probono@stibbe.com

  • Stibbe advises the foundation of SVS

    SVS represents the interests of women who became ill due to breast implants

    SVS is an NGO that champions the cause of 4,000 women who say their breast implants have led to serious side effects. This claim was not necessarily accepted by the medical community as a whole. For years SVS has been trying to get the Ministry of Health to ban the use of implants until their side effects are clearly documented to enable women to make informed decisions about the procedure.

  • Stibbe advises WWF-Netherlands

    Stibbe advises WWF-Netherlands regarding the Dutch procurement policy for sustainable wood

    The Dutch government has expressed its intention to recognize the Malaysian Timber Certification System (MTCS) as evidence of sustainable wood for a two-year period, even though MTCS does not meet all official criteria. This is done to encourage full compliance with those criteria and means government agencies can use the wood in their building projects. The World Wild Fund for Nature, worried about the negative impact on the Malaysian rainforest and indigenous tribes, objected.

  • Stibbe paved the way for female SGP members

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    Citing the right to freedom of expression, the Reformed Political Party (Dutch abbreviation: SGP) argued that while women can become a member of the SGP, they couldn’t vote within the party or stand for public office on behalf of it.

    We took on the case on behalf of the NGOs against the SGP and the State, arguing that SGP’s position was in violation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The ultimate Supreme Court decision paved the way for female SGP members to decide for themselves whether to stand for office or not.

  • Stibbe assists PAG-ASA vzw

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    Legal advice to victims of human trafficking

    Since 2008, the Brussels office has supported the PAG-ASA vzw, a non-governmental organisation that provides shelter, as well as legal advice to victims of human trafficking and cooperates with the relevant authorities in the combat against trafficking networks.   

    A pool of motivated trainees led by Belgian litigation partner Hans Van Bavel assists PAG-ASA and the victims with their representation before the criminal courts in order to defend their rights and claim damages.

  • Stibbe protects students

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    In 2011 the Dutch government expressed its intention to fine students €3,000 if they take too long to graduate. Student unions opposed to this change and approached Stibbe with a request for pro bono legal counsel.

    Our lawyers spent several weeks on this complex case and concluded that the government’s proposal violated various legal principles and was unlawful. The student unions used our advice to lobby Parliament, but this was only partially successful. The case was then taken to court with the help of Stibbe.

  • Stibbe assists OXFAM/WWF

    In 2012, we provided advice for the Legal Resource Initiative (LRI) created by Oxfam and the WWF in the preparation for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC), Cancun Summit in Mexico. This included matters in relation to the Kyoto Protocol (KP), public international law, an assessment of the Copenhagen Accord, the Gigaton Gap and the possible consequences between the first KP and the next.

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