UK pro bono work
We list some outstanding examples of the UK team’s pro bono efforts on wide range of very worthy causes.
Our collaboration with Free Periods and Red Box to eliminate #PeriodPoverty in England – which has its own case study elsewhere in this section - was shortlisted in the “Access to Justice” category in the 2019 Law Society’s Excellence Awards.
Ex-police officer Andrea Brown
We acted for ex-police officer, Andrea Brown, in her Court of Appeal case against the police concerning the qualified one-way costs shifting rules. Andrea originally brought a claim against the police force in the County Court for breach of data protection, breach of the Human Rights Act 1998, misfeasance in public office and misuse of private information. The case was widely reported by the press. She was successful in three of the four heads of claim, but not on the personal injury element. The County Court held that Andrea was entitled to protection under QOCS as the personal injury claims were directly linked to the non-personal injury claim, and it did not consider that the exception had been triggered. This was appealed and unfortunately, the Court of Appeal found against Andrea, an outcome which is likely to have a huge impact on all personal injury cases going forward.
We advised and assisted the global advocacy not-for-profit organisation, Avaaz, in a challenge to NewsCorp’s bid to merge with BSkyB, on the basis that a 60% controlling interest by NewsCorp would have serious impact on media pluralism in the United Kingdom.
British Disabled Flying Association
We acted for the BDFA (Aerobility), who teach disabled and chronically ill people to fly. Aerobility sought VAT exemption or to be zero-rated for VAT for the purposes of purchasing and maintaining their aircraft. Following hearings before both the First Tier Tax Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal, we sought to have the HMRC’s decision judicial reviewed. This application was granted and the case settled shortly before that judicial review hearing.
Accountability of multi-national corporations
We worked with the UN Special Rapporteur on "Business and Human Rights" Professor John Ruggie, on the development on the United Nations Guiding principles (UNGP’s) which are internationally recognised standards of conduct for multi- national corporations. These were later implemented in several countries including the UK as National Action Plans (NAP’s). Our efforts focussed on the redress pillar toward making global companies accountable to those whose lives are impacted by rights violations in global supply chains in host countries, in particular where extractive, deforestation and garment industries are based.
Building on this work we have been a member of the EU advisory group and British Institute of Advanced Comparative law (BIICL expert group) on developing the mandatory rules requiring businesses to undertake due diligence in human rights and environmental due diligence in their supply chains. The EU has announced it will introduce regulation in the Autumn of 2021.
Hausfeld acts for Privacy International, a global NGO that supports the right to privacy, dignity and freedom. We work together on various aspects of Privacy International’s competition-focused work, as the interplay between data, privacy and antitrust issues continues to grow. Most recently, we were instructed in relation to the European Commission’s review of Google’s proposed acquisition of Fitbit, Inc. We submitted comments on the deal to the Commission on 3rd July 2020 given the takeover would have a significant impact on competition, consumers and wider society and requires very close scrutiny.