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, NGOs in International Geneva can benefit from free legal services 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 bringing together, on the one hand, NGOs established in Geneva responding to 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 information relating to 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 NGOs in International Geneva. TrustLaw is a global programme of the Thomson Reuters Foundation that connects the world’s leading law firms to provide free legal assistance to organizations working for social and environmental change. This service is completely free.

Be sure to indicate in your membership application that your organization is supported by CAGI’s NGO Service. Since CAGI is an official reference partner of TrustLaw, your request for support will be given priority.

How can you benefit from this programme?

To receive this pro bono support, you must register through apply.trust.org (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

  • Protect Intellectual Property Matters and Trademarks:

Social enterprise Friends International worked with law firms Tilleke Gibbins International, LGP Asia, Leks and Co and Clayton Utz to protect their intellectual property in Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and Australia after learning about attempts to copy some of their projects.

  • Register your organization and decide on the legal structure to adopt:

Torys, one of Canada’s leading law firms, advised the Swiss humanitarian aid organization Medair on their registration in Canada, a move that Medair says will support their work in Haiti and in the whole world.

  • Draft or revise partnership agreements, contracts, templates, etc. :

Open Cinema, a UK network of participatory film clubs for homeless and vulnerable people, received legal assistance in preparing a risk assessment model for new business locations and in the establishment of a health and safety policy for its personnel.

  • Human resources issues or contract negotiations with staff, volunteers, clients or partners:

Future First is a social enterprise seeking to revolutionize career advice across the UK through the creation of alumni networks, bringing former students back to the schools they attended with the aim of inspiring and advising current students. Jones Day assists Future First with buddy programme volunteer work contracts.

  • Advocacy:

TrustLaw publishes research results on the laws of several countries, comparing best (and worst) practices. The TrustLaw site contains success stories and publications on issues such as domestic worker rights, human trafficking, domestic violence, acid violence, women’s access to land rights, disability rights and many others.

Process for granting free legal assistance

On average, it takes about a month to find free legal assistance through TrustLaw. The process for granting assistance is as follows:

  • organizations can apply for TrustLaw membership via apply.trust.org,
  • the membership application will be validated by the TrustLaw team. You will be informed of the result within two to three days. The more information you provide via the form, the faster the processing time will be,
  • If your application for membership is approved, you will receive a personal login to the TrustLaw web portal where you can post a request for legal support and schedule a telephone interview with a lawyer from the TrustLaw team to discuss your project,
  • following the call, the request will be finalized and shared via the web portal with the more than 1,000 TrustLaw member law firms who will be able to consult it and express their interest in collaborating,
  • two weeks after the project goes live, TrustLaw will notify you if you have received an offer of assistance from a legal team.
  • you select the legal team you want to work with, and we introduce you to the legal team to start working on the project,
  • if you have not received an offer of assistance after two weeks, TrustLaw will continue to seek free legal assistance until your project is connected to a legal team,
  • after the connection with the legal team, TrustLaw will contact you and the legal team to ensure that the project is progressing, and will provide support if necessary,
  • at the end of the project, you will be asked to provide feedback on the use of the TrustLaw programme.

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.