Services for NGOs

The CAGI assists international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) already established or seeking to do so in the Geneva region.

Pro bono legal assistance

Under certain conditions, International Geneva NGOs may benefit from free legal assistance through two CAGI partner platforms.

CAGI Partners

The Human Rights Commission of the Geneva Bar Association has set up a Pro Bono Platform aimed at putting in contact, on the one hand, NGOs established in Geneva that meet a certain number of criteria and, on the other hand, lawyers willing to provide them with free legal support in their areas of expertise.

The application form as well as the information on the admission criteria and the procedure to allocate grants can be found on the website of the Geneva Bar Association.

CAGI has partnered with TrustLaw to facilitate free legal assistance to International Geneva NGOs. TrustLaw is a global programme of the Thomson Reuters Foundation that connects the world’s leading legal teams to provide free legal assistance to organizations working for social and environmental change. This service is completely free.

Be sure to indicate in your application that your organization is supported by CAGI. Since CAGI is an official referral partner of TrustLaw, your application will be fast tracked.

How can you benefit from this programme?

To access this pro bono support, you must register through (applicants are encouraged to provide as much information as possible on the application form to facilitate its processing).

Examples of the types of projects conducted through TrustLaw

  • Protecting Intellectual Property Matters and Trademark:

Award winning social enterprise Friends International worked with law firms Tilleke Gibbins International, LGP Asia, Leks and Co, and Clayton Utz to have their intellectual property protected in Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Australia respectively, after becoming aware of attempts to copy some of their projects.

  • Registering your organization and deciding on the legal structure to adopt:

Torys, one of Canada’s leading law firms, advised Swiss humanitarian aid agency Medair on registering in Canada, a move which Medair expects would provide support for their work in Haiti and throughout the world.

  • Drafting or reviewing partnership agreements, contracts, templates, etc. :

Open Cinema, a UK network of participatory film clubs for homeless or vulnerable people, received assistance in preparing a risk assessment template which could be applied to new venues in a range of social sector environments, as well as a health and safety policy for their staff.

  • Employment/HR issues or contract negotiations with staff, volunteers, customers or partners:

Future First is a social business working to revolutionise careers advice across the UK through the creation of alumni networks, bringing former students back to their old schools to inspire and advise current pupils. Jones Day assisting them with employment agreements for their work shadowing programme volunteers.

  • Advocacy:

Research on laws in multiple countries, comparing best (and worst) practices. Please find some of their success stories and published research programmes here on issues such as domestic labour rights, human trafficking, domestic violence, acid violence, women’s access to land rights, disability rights and many more.

Process of finding free legal assistance

On average, it takes approximately one month to find free legal assistance through TrustLaw. The process is as follows:

  • organizations can apply for TrustLaw membership via,
  • the membership application will be vetted by TrustLaw team. You will be notified within two-three days of the outcome. The more information you provide in the application the faster the processing time,
  • if approved for membership, you will be sent a personal login to the TrustLaw web portal where you can post a legal request and set up a call with one of the lawyers on the team who will scope the project with you,
  • following the call, the project request will be finalised and shared on the web portal with over 1000 law firm members to see and express interest in working on,
  • after two weeks of the project being on the web portal, TrustLaw will advise if you have had any offers of assistance from a legal team,
  • you select which legal team you would like to work with, and we introduce you to the legal team to start work on the project,
  • if you have not had any offers of assistance after two weeks, TrustLaw will continue to seek free legal assistance until your project is connected with a legal team,
  • following the introduction to the legal team, TrustLaw will check in with you and the legal team to ensure the legal project is progressing and provide support if required,
  • at the end of the project you will be asked to provide feedback to TrustLaw about using the TrustLaw service.

To learn more the impact of TrustLaw and how it works, please view this video and visit:

Other useful information for NGOs

Annual legal requirements
Intellectual property and data protection
Swiss labour law

CAGI services
for NGOs and Permanent Missions

Founded by the Swiss Confederation and the Republic and Canton of Geneva, the Geneva Welcome Centre is the single entry point for the support and integration of employees of International Geneva and their families, NGOs and visiting delegates.