Legal claims for reparations
We provide direct representation to UK-based clients (and their families) who are seeking reparations for torture and ill-treatment suffered in different countries around the world. Those cases are being pursued in regional human rights bodies or through the UN. In addition, we offer support to a few clients in domestic legal processes.
More information about our cases can be found on our Database of cases.
We combine our casework with other civil society techniques such as advocacy, media, and activism to ensure there is implementation after the judgment, a community behind the client, and a cause beyond the case.
We accompany survivors through the legal process and ensure they can access the medical and psychological services they require.
We work with the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service to support investigation and prosecutions for the criminal offence of torture, on the basis of universal jurisdiction.
UK complicity in torture
We work to ensure that the international prohibition against torture is maintained by the UK government, and that the UK is held to account for any involvement in torture and ill-treatment, wherever that may occur. This includes working on legal cases seeking redress for the UK’s complicity in torture.
We support various clients (and their families) who have faced challenges in accessing appropriate protection from the UK Government, and we have a long history of engaging with the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) on these issues. We continue to undertake research and analysis on the drawbacks of the present discretionary system, and continue to seek ways of ensuring that protection is available for British nationals who have suffered (or are at risk of) torture and ill-treatment in detention overseas.
Communities and survivors
We engage with frontline support organisations based to refer and signpost survivors who are in contact with us. We are growing our networks to continue engaging with survivor-led groups and to support their priorities. After undertaking research on the views of torture survivors in the UK regarding what ‘justice’ means to them, we produced a report Whose Justice? Reflections from UK-based survivors of torture, which will form the basis of our work to improve the support provided to survivors through the legal process, and which led to the development of a Survivors’ of Torture Manifesto. We are working jointly with Freedom from Torture on a project to promote access to justice for survivors, improve the quality of legal advice available to them (including in relation to accountability and reparations for torture), and to provide support for survivors’ own advocacy efforts.
We advocate in the UK to improve protection for UK citizens detained abroad, to maintain the absolute ban against torture in UK law, and to pursue accountability for human rights violations by bringing cases against perpetrators living in the UK. Recent examples of our work include:
- the promotion in the UK of the 2022 revision of the Istanbul Protocol,
- engagement on the Independent Review of the Human Rights Act,
- the campaign against the provisions of the Overseas Operations Bill (that would have provided an effective amnesty when British troops commit torture and other international crimes),
- raising concerns about elements of the National Security Bill (that would dilute the ban against torture in UK law),
- stressing the likelihood that the UK will breach its international legal commitments regarding torture as a result of the Illegal Migration Bill, and
- the coordination of the civil society response to the UN Committee against Torture’s review of the UK.
Human rights sanctions
We submit requests to the Sanctions Team of the FCDO for the UK to impose “Magnitsky” sanctions on those responsible for torture, co-ordinating with the US and EU regimes for sanctions. We also act as Secretariat for the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Magnitsky sanctions, which seeks to raise the profile of the UK regime and ensure effective use of sanctions.