Linklaters pro bono practice win at IMPACT2030 Innovation Awards for pioneering rule of law project in Liberia

Linklaters has been named as one of IMPACT2030’s most innovative businesses for the firm’s collaboration with Lawyers Without Borders to help mend Liberia’s legal system after the country’s civil war.

Linklaters took on the huge undertaking to summarise and index over 10,000 cases in Liberia’s legal history after civil war left the legal system in the country severely damaged. As a result, members of the Liberian judiciary now have easier access to previous judgments to ensure a consistently applied rule of law.

The achievement has been recognised by IMPACT2030, an organisation founded in response to a UN Resolution to further engagement with the private sector, which highlights best-in-class approaches to connecting skills, passion and expertise within companies towards advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Liberia’s legal system is precedent-driven: judges require access to previous case decisions when giving a ruling in a case. After the civil war, the lack of an index for ease of searching previous case decisions was identified as a significant challenge to the rule of law and the development of an equitable and stable society. Linklaters’ innovative project management made the production of an index possible. The result has helped to anchor efforts to rebuild Liberia’s judicial system and contributes directly to the establishment of a consistent rule of law in the country.

Christina Storm, Executive Director and Founder of not-for-profit Lawyers Without Borders which instructed Linklaters on the project, commented, “The impact of distributing the Liberian case digests and index would truly not have been possible without the commitment, vision and skill of a superlative team at Linklaters. The effort and organisation involved was colossal and should not be underestimated."
Charlie Jacobs, Senior Partner and Chairman at Linklaters said: “I am very proud of our lawyers for their hard work on this project which began in 2009. The mammoth task of summarising and indexing case law for Liberia is a great achievement in protecting the rule of law and the certainty it provides. We feel that it is our responsibility as international lawyers to assist in the preservation and advancement of the rule of law which underpins the development of society.”
Elsha Butler, Global Pro Bono Manager from Linklaters commented: “Our people are passionate about social impact, and we are proud of the hundreds of lawyers across 18 offices of the firm that have contributed to this momentous project since its inception. Championing the rule of law and the integrity, fairness and certainty that it brings is central to what we do as a firm.”

The published case study is available here.