Those working in civil society organisations in Ireland are under increasing pressure to ensure their organisations are governed to the highest standards and at the same time that their campaigns for social change are politically effective and run in compliance with the laws that affect their campaigning activities. Funders, members, supporters, Charities Regulatory Authority and Data Protection Commissioner rightfully expect a high standard of internal governance and transparency. However those working within a typical Irish civil society organisation do not always have the time or in-house expertise to fully analyse and understand the complex and broad spectrum of legislation, regulation and caselaw that now applies to both their internal and external activities. This session will demonstrate the essential ways in which pro bono lawyers can assist in building the capacity of campaigners to navigate the law in relation to employment, charity governance, defamation and data protection and help them ensure efficient organizations and effective campaigns.
Volunteer lawyers will act out a scenario where a civil society organization are holding their monthly staff meeting. In the course of the discussion, we will cover some key legal issues that they might need to consider, arising both within the organization and in their external work. These issues cover employment law, charity law, defamation, and data protection. Specific issues include status of volunteers, whistleblowing, flexible work, new statutory leave entitlements, social media publications, lobbying, fundraising and data protection.
Volunteer lawyers will be called upon by the moderator to intervene at key points to explain the key legal considerations and why certain proposed courses of action might be low or high risk for the charity. The purpose of the role play is to illustrate the breadth of legal issues that can arise on a day to day basis for a charity and how fears of legal repercussions can impact or paralyse decision-making; crucially also, how pro bono lawyers can get involved in advising them. In each section we would like to flag the main risks that the proposed course of action raises, the relevant legal framework and also highlight sensible courses of action available.
Date: Wednesday, November 22nd 2023 - 10am to 12pm
Location: William Fry Offices, 2 Grand Canal Quay, Dublin Docklands, Dublin 2, D02 A342, Ireland