PILA seek to develop register of pro bono engineers

PILA have developed two case studies to provide a better idea of what may be involved, PILAthey are available to view here.

PILA is a project of the Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC), an independent human rights organisation dedicated to the realisation of equal access to justice for all.  PILA works to facilitate and promote the use of the law in the public interest, particularly for the benefit of marginalised and disadvantaged people in Ireland. One of the ways we are doing this is by matching expertise in the legal profession with the legal need of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). To this end, we have established a pro bono register of lawyers.

PILA’s register has enabled lawyers to provide legal education sessions for NGO staff, which helps them better inform their service users. Lawyers on the register also provide pieces of legal advice and opinion to organisations, which furthers their policy and law reform work.

Some of the organisations we work with are community and independent law centres who initiate litigation on behalf of clients. In order to establish a case, expert opinions and reports are often required, including those from engineers. Therefore, we are looking to develop a complementary pro bono register of engineers, who could contribute their expert professional opinions to such cases.

The law centres are of varying focus, depending on the specialist nature of their work or shaped by the clients and issues in their catchment area.  One common factor, however, is that they cater for low income clients who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer or for expert opinions/reports for cases.

The law centres are primarily based in Dublin, with one in Limerick.  They are particularly interested in the expertise of civil engineers. The types of cases where their expertise would be required include:

  • Flooding and sewer difficulties;
  • Dampness reading, including mould and mildew;
  • Asbestos;
  • Structural issues, including cracks in walls;
  • General repairs;
  • Conditions in halting sites;
  • Overcrowding;
  • Poor finishing and workmanship in newer buildings;
  • Issues with amenities such as plumbing, hot water supply and heating;
  • Minimum standard for buildings where there is a disability, e.g. what gradient ramps should be for wheelchair access; and
  • Compliance with various regulations.

If you are interested in joining the pro bono register of engineers, or would like to learn more about it, please contact Rachel Power, PILA Co-ordinator, at 01 872 8048 or rachel.power@flac.ie.