Third social gathering interveners – typically charities – apply to a courtroom to intervene in a case the place the proposed intervener can convey one thing further of worth to the courtroom deciding the case. Usually these instances are within the greater courts and develop into main instances of their space, affecting not simply the person events to the dispute however resulting in wider systemic modifications. That’s one cause why, particularly in instances involving a public physique, a third-party intervention can typically convey a perspective which is helpful to the courtroom – the state physique will often have a direct curiosity within the potential systemic implications of a case however a person social gathering typically doesn’t.

Paul Yates - photo

This is part of our professional bono apply of which I’m notably proud, having labored onerous with our dispute decision group to develop it during the last twelve years. Over the past 12 months alone (the related interval for the Legislation Society Awards) now we have labored 1,500 professional bono hours on 9 interventions – and in whole now we have labored on 50 interventions, for 19 main charities, in numerous courts together with the UK Supreme Court docket, Court docket of Enchantment, Administrative Court docket, Higher Tribunal, in addition to in references to the Court docket of Justice of the European Union and in instances earlier than the Strasbourg human rights courtroom. Within the UK Supreme Court docket alone now we have acted in 19 interventions because the courtroom was established in 2009, greater than another personal apply agency.

We after all do all the same old work of a solicitor in a case, together with instructing some fabulous barristers, with whom it’s all the time an awesome expertise to work. We frequently usher in a cross-practice or cross-border staff to help inside the agency: in a current case for Shelter we made Freedom of Info Act requests of each native authority and analysed the responses; in different instances we use our community of European workplaces to do analysis to develop comparative authorized arguments.

We’ll proceed to develop this main apply, and, within the collaborative spirit of the professional bono sector, have been eager to share our experience for the advantage of charities and different corporations who want to provide professional bono help on this space. We co-authored (with JUSTICE) the main information to intervening, ‘To help the courtroom’ – 96 pages of authoritative steerage and evaluation, together with precedents based mostly on our expertise, accessible free of charge on-line.

We’re grateful to the Legislation Society and to the judges for recognising this a part of our apply, and thank all of our attorneys who’ve labored on these necessary instances through the years.


Paul Yates is counsel at Freshfields and head of the agency’s professional bono apply