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Code of Ethics

The International Lawyers Project (ILP) is committed to its mission to support local actors on economic inequality issues, including corruption, tax reform, media freedom & curbing illicit financial flows. ILP’s staff and trustees are committed to this mission which is at the core of our work. We are guided by our Code of Ethics in all that we do. 

We are committed to: 

  • Acting honestly, truthfully and with integrity in all of our work; 

  • Acting responsibly and respectfully toward the communities in which we work and who we serve; 

  • Conducting fact-finding and giving legal advice which is factual, accurate and ethical; 

  • Treating all individuals with respect and dignity; 

  • Treating our employees with respect, fairness and good faith and providing employment conditions that safeguard their rights and provide for a good work-life balance;

  • Building diversity in our own team and striving to have talented employees with diverse backgrounds, cultures, perspectives and experiences; 

  • Being a good corporate citizen, complying with both the spirit and the letter of the law; 

  • Being responsible, transparent and accountable for our actions; 

  • Avoiding conflicts of interest and appropriately handling actual or apparent conflicts of interest that may arise. 

The interests of the people and causes we work for are at the heart of everything we do. We consider our ultimate clients for any project to be the citizens of the countries where we work. Accordingly, we aim to act in accordance with the highest ethical standards, in every aspect of our work.

ILP has adopted this Code of Ethics (Code) to guide its volunteers, board members and staff in their conduct when acting on behalf of ILP. This Code contains broad principles reflecting the types of behaviour ILP expects of itself towards clients, donors, volunteers, employees, peer organisations, and the public. ILP management is responsible for communicating this Code to all members of the Board of Trustees and staff, including volunteers, and for ensuring its adherence by them at all times.

This Code does not embody the totality of ILP’s ethical standards, nor does it answer every ethical question or issue that might arise. Rather, it is one element of a broader effort to create and maintain a quality organisation that gives ethical conduct the highest priority. Please also consult the other policies referred to covering specific areas of ethical concern. This Code will be reviewed periodically.

Who We Work With

  1. We consider carefully the reputation of any client - whether in government, the private sector, or civil society - before deciding to work with that client. We want to support our clients to achieve just, accountable and sustainable development. We recognise the challenges in achieving these goals, but have an expectation that our clients are committed to these goals. We will not work with clients where we believe that ILP’s own standards and reputation is at unacceptable risk, and we take steps to mitigate the risks that exist. See: ILP Guidelines for Providing Pro Bono Assistance to Governments

The Organisation

  1. We seek to comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and fiduciary responsibilities as well as the governing documents, policies, and procedures of ILP, and aim to uphold best practices in accounting, governance and human resource management. ILP is committed to developing an organisational culture which implements policy support for internationally recognised human rights, contained within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and seeks to avoid complicity in human rights abuses. We have policies in place to ensure our financial efficiency and transparency as a charity (particularly where we get our money from and how we hold it). We also seek to promote transparency in fundraising activities. See: Policy on financial management

  2. The Board of Trustees are also committed to providing credible and effective oversight of ILP’s work without personal bias. See: Policy for Trustees

Our People

  1. We have policies in place to guide our volunteers, staff and board members to ensure that ILP itself lives up to the standards we aim to support. Board members and staff, including staff interns and volunteers, should, as individuals, act in accordance with the highest ethical standards, including relevant rules of professional conduct, applicable laws and fiduciary responsibilities, in all transactions and dealings. This includes upholding the reputation and integrity of ILP when acting on behalf of ILP whether in the UK or in-country during the delivery of ILP programmes.

  2. Consultation and Respect

    1. We seek to take necessary steps to create an organisational culture of respect for all those with whom we come into contact. This includes behaving appropriately in relation to dress, culture, etc.

    2. We also aim to seek out the views of a broad set of stakeholders on projects, not just our immediate client.

    3. We further seek to acknowledge appropriate contributions from other individuals and organisations who help facilitate ILP’s goals.

  3. Bribery and Corruption

    1. ILP takes a zero-tolerance approach to bribery and corruption amongst our staff, volunteers and board members, and are committed to acting professionally, fairly and with integrity in all our business dealings and relationships. 

    2. Our volunteers, staff and board members should deny commissions, gifts, payments, loans, promises of future benefits, or other items of value from anyone who has or may seek some benefit from ILP in return, other than reimbursement of costs or occasional gifts of nominal value that are in keeping with good business ethics. See: Policy on bribery and corruption (section on personal responsibilities).

  4. Conflicts of Interest

    1. Volunteers, staff and board members are expected to disclose to ILP’s Executive Committee any area in which a potential conflict of interest could arise so that ILP may consider the implications. See: Policy on conflicts of interest

  5. Safeguarding

    1. At ILP, we believe that all people should be treated with dignity, fairness and respect. We will not tolerate any exploitative, degrading, abusive or corrupt behaviour including any form of sexual abuse or exploitation of any persons of any age. See: Policy on safeguarding

  6. Confidentiality and Data Protection 

    1. We are committed to ensuring that the personal data of our volunteers, staff and board members is processed fairly and lawfully. We respect the confidentiality of sensitive information about ILP and its board, employees and stakeholders. See: Policy on GDPR and other aspects of confidentiality

Any Concerns

In addition, we expect ILP board members, staff and volunteers to report behaviour that may raise concerns that any of these policies have been violated. We encourage reporting of concerns by any affected party. Details of how to make such reports are on our website. Such reports can include any concerns about clients or partner organisations as well as ILP staff, volunteers and trustees. The organisation is committed to deal swiftly and professionally with any such concerns raised. 

Adopted by the board July 2019

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