Third Sector Awards 2017: Best Charity Law Firm - Clifford Chance

Awarded to a legal firm that has provided outstanding support to its voluntary sector clients or the broader charity sector

What did it set out to achieve?

Clifford Chance has provided pro-bono legal advice to Save the Children since 2009. In 2016, when an estimated 600 children died while fleeing conflict, poverty and persecution across the Mediterranean Sea, the two organisations came together to purchase, equip and launch a search-and-rescue vessel.

What did they do?

Clifford Chance's team of lawyers supported Save the Children on a pro-bono basis to navigate the necessary and complex legal provisions regarding maritime law, the shipping contract and other key operational considerations. Support was led by Clifford Chance partner Alex Panayides, who, as a child, was himself forced to flee conflict in an overcrowded boat across the Mediterranean. 

What was the result?

The project culminated in the launch of the Vos Hestia in September 2016. The Vos Hestia is the only vessel in the Mediterranean with an on-board child protection team, including safe spaces for unaccompanied children. This is particularly vital, because in 2016 more than 90 per cent of children arriving in Italy did so without their parents. Since it was launched, the Vos Hestia has saved more than 2,700 people, including more than 400 children.

The Clifford Chance Foundation has also donated £20,000 to support Save the Children's Rescue at Sea Appeal, as well as more than £55,000 to organisations dealing with the crises in Yemen, Iraq and Syria. The law firm made a £200,000 donation to Save the Children's Child Refugee Crisis Appeal.

What did the judges say?

"Clifford Chance superbly channelled its legal expertise to create a huge life-saving project with Save the Children, going above and beyond to help procure and equip the vessel," said Prem Goyal, chief executive of Global Markets Consultants.


Penningtons Manches

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