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Case study

Our UK third party interventions practice

We act regularly for charities intervening as third parties in precedent-setting UK cases. We have represented charities in over 50 interventions, including 23 in the UK Supreme Court (more than any other law firm). We also represent interveners in other courts including the Court of Appeal, the European Court of Human Rights and in references to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Examples of clients that we have represented in interventions include Shelter, the AIRE Centre, JUSTICE, the British Red Cross, the Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit (ATLEU), the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), Anti-Slavery International, Medical Justice, Freedom from Torture and the Helen Bamber Foundation.  We also co-wrote, with JUSTICE, the leading guide to intervening, To Assist the Court: Third Party Interventions in the Public Interest.  In 2020 we won the Law Society’s Excellence in Pro Bono award for our interventions practice.

We advise on case strategy, costs risks and alternatives to intervention, as well as on the development of legal submissions and, where relevant, evidence.  In some cases we also provide comparative research, using our network of international offices, and assist with evidence gathering, including through the use of Freedom of Information Act requests.

Deba Das, partner in our Disputes group, says "I have advised on 16 interventions, from my time as a trainee to the present.  These cases have been some of the most rewarding aspects of my career to date, and have made me a better lawyer.  In particular, as a junior, this work gave me early access to clients, counsel, case strategy and oversight of every stage of litigation from start to finish, and experience of courts from the High Court to the UK Supreme Court and European Court of Justice. I’m proud that through our interventions work, Freshfields has made a meaningful contribution to protecting fundamental rights and upholding the rule of law in the UK and beyond."

Ramya Arnold, senior associate in our Disputes group, adds "What I love about working on interventions is how rewarding it can be to use my litigation skills to advise and represent NGOs that support some of the most vulnerable individuals in the country.  I’ve learnt a huge amount from working with experts at the NGOs we advise about how UK law and policy has affected such disenfranchised groups. It's been a privilege to play a part in a series of high-profile cases which have made a real and systemic difference to protections for survivors of torture and human trafficking."

Recent examples of our work include: