About the Forum

Law can be a powerful tool for justice but it does not deliver justice automatically. Around the world today, law is being used to maintain inequality, to legitimize the quietening of civil society organizations and to hinder human rights defenders that challenge the status quo. The 2017 PILnet Global Forum will focus on how we, as a global network, can reclaim law as a force for good and find ways to collaborate in making law work for all.

Bringing together the expertise and networks of PILnet’s European, Russian and Asian Forums for the first time, the 2017 Global Forum will give local innovation a global stage. It will connect leading activists, academics, pro bono professionals and public interest law champions from around the world to share the most effective techniques and skills of both the public and private legal profession to benefit the public interest.

The PILnet Global Forum will offer presentations, trainings, interactive workshops, awards and social events over four days. Join us in Budapest from 16-19 October 2017 to be a part of this project to ensure that law can work for everyone.

History of the Forum

One of the most remarkable developments in the field of law over the past decade has been the rapid growth of pro bono and public interest law around the globe. The provision of legal services to those who cannot afford a lawyer helps expand access to justice and supports the humanitarian missions of NGOs.

For the past ten years, PILnet hosted annual pro bono conferences, beginning in Budapest, with the location weaving across Europe and Asia, from Berlin and Warsaw, to Madrid, Paris, London, Rome, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, and Russia. When the first Forum was held in 2007, the support for pro bono was on the rise, but its presence in Europe was modest and its long-term expansion uncertain. A decade on, thousands of international participants later, the time has come to adapt the conference presentation and format to fit the reality. The 2017 PILnet Global Forum, will come back to its roots in Hungary but reflect an expanded conference mission – to provide a platform for those throughout the world who choose to serve civil society through pro bono and public interest law.

Learn more from our special reports: 2016 Forum Report and The Growth of Pro Bono in Europe.