The Civil Liberties Trust is a registered charity (No. 1024948) that works to promote human rights and civil liberties through research, policy work, litigation, education and advice. It works in parallel with Liberty and is based in the same building.
The Trust does not employ staff but pursues its objectives by funding Liberty to carry out specifically charitable work. Most of the Trust’s direct charitable expenditure is represented by grants to Liberty to fund work in the areas of information, research, publications, advice and legal services.
Civil Liberties Trust objectives
1. The promotion of domestic human rights including the elimination of the infringement of those rights and the promoting of effective remedies following any breach, for the benefit of the public.
2. The provision of legal advice, assistance and representation on human rights and civil liberties to those unable to pay for it.
3. The provision of educational material and information on civil liberties and human rights.
4. The undertaking and promotion of research into civil liberties and human rights.
Why are Liberty and the Civil Liberties Trust separate organisations?
Liberty is an unincorporated association made up of members, and a non-profit making company that employs staff and runs campaigns. The Civil Liberties Trust is a grant-making registered charity.
It is important that the different organisations exist. The division enables Liberty to pursue all the work necessary to protect and promote civil liberties and human rights, including, crucially, our political campaigning.
Donations to the Civil Liberties Trust can be gift-aided, meaning that the Civil Liberties Trust can claim back tax you have already paid on your donation, typically 25p for every £1. Visit the HMRC website to find out more.
Can I still donate to Liberty?
Yes! Although donations to Liberty cannot be gift-aided they can be used to support the full spectrum of work that Liberty undertakes. This is often the hardest work to fund, so is where our greatest need lies.
We run public campaigns to raise awareness of urgent human rights and civil liberties issues and influence national debate. Our supporters are a vital part of our work, helping to make our voice stronger by lobbying their representatives, signing petitions and sending pledges of support. Find out about our current campaigns and take action now.
We provide detailed briefings on Bills before parliament, respond to government consultations and give expert written and oral evidence to parliamentary committees on issues which have implications for human rights and civil liberties. Our policy team meet with MPs and Peers to brief them and to ensure that they keep basic rights and freedoms in mind when considering laws and policies. Search recent Liberty Reports and Briefings.
We are one of the only UK campaigning organisations that pursue our objectives not only through lobbying but also by taking on legal cases. As well as acting as solicitors for people bringing (or sometimes defending) a case in the courts, we sometimes intervene in cases where we act for neither party. Search our interventions and read about some of our landmark cases.
We work to raise awareness through the media, aiming to influence decision-makers and increase public understanding about human rights and civil liberties. Search Liberty press releases and read our blog.
Membership requirements and deadlines are enforced strictly by Liberty’s Executive Committee. It is the responsibility of candidates, those proposing and seconding candidates and those proposing, seconding or amending motions and constitutional amendments to ensure their membership is up to date and all information has been submitted by the deadlines specified.
From its members, the Council elects an Executive Committee, which meets at least eight times a year. It is responsible for the strategic direction, financial and other governance of Liberty. In addition, the Executive Committee appoints a Treasurer each year at their first meeting following Liberty’s Annual General Meeting.
Liberty works closely with the Civil Liberties Trust (CLT), a registered charity. The CLT has no staff, but commissions Liberty to conduct charitable work such as providing public advice and information.
It is important that the CLT exists as the division between the two organisations enables us to pursue all the work necessary to protect and promote civil liberties and human rights, including, crucially, our political campaigning.
Liberty is one of the leading human rights organisations in the UK, campaigning to protect civil liberties and promote human rights for everyone.
We rely on the support of motivated and enthusiastic volunteers who are interested in the issues that Liberty tackles and keen to gain valuable experience working for an organisation with our reputation for campaigning impact.
What can you do as a Liberty volunteer?
There are two main types of volunteering role available:
Administrative support – you could be helping with the day-to-day work of our operations, membership, campaigns and/or media teams.
Advice and Information – you need a law degree for this one, but anyone legally qualified can apply. You would be helping us respond to written queries from the public about their rights.
All volunteering roles are based in our office in London, and we generally look for a commitment of at least one day a week for a minimum of four months.
We will cover travel costs to and from the office (within London travel zones 1 - 6) and a daily lunch allowance up to a maximum of £5. All volunteer roles are unpaid.
We welcome volunteers from outside London, but we can't help with travel arrangements, work permits or accommodation
How to get involved
We only accept applications for specific vacancies, so we're unable to consider speculative work enquiries or CVs.
Unfortunately we don’t have enough space to take on everyone who would like to volunteer, so there is competition for places. We ask everyone to complete an application form, provide a reference and attend a short interview.
Liberty encourages applications from all sections of the community, from all ages and backgrounds. We do our best to treat everyone equally.
Working as a volunteer at Liberty for 3 months has been a brilliant experience. Not only has it been amazing working with such talented professionals, but the inclusive, friendly environment immediately made me feel welcome and part of the team.
It has also been incredibly interesting learning how NGO's such as Liberty function and organise behind the scenes."
Matt, Admin Suport Volunteer, June 2017
From my very first day I was exposed to a range of important issues and I was able to get stuck in straight away with providing advice. As a result I felt that my time here was valuable, both in what I learnt but also in the contribution I was able to make.
This is a great opportunity to expand your legal knowledge and awareness, whilst also learning more about the complex and vital work that Liberty carries out. It is a great atmosphere to work in, with many inspiring characters dedicated to ensuring that peoples’ rights and freedoms are protected.
I would not only recommend volunteering to anyone interested in protecting civil liberties and promoting human rights, but also to those looking for a way to contribute to help make a kinder society."
Roopen, Advice and Information Volunteer, July 2017
Advice and Information Volunteer
Liberty is currently looking for volunteers to assist our Advice and Information team. Volunteers will conduct legal research and draft responses to queries from members of the public regarding a wide variety of human rights and civil liberties issues.
Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
Liberty has a structured work experience programme in place for students aged 16-18 who are in or have recently completed full-time education. Successful applicants will gain some experience with each of the teams within Liberty (this includes the Legal, Policy and Press teams), leaving with a greater understanding of how a human rights NGO operates, and the different roles within one.
Ever since we were founded in 1934 Liberty (or the National Council for Civil Liberties as it then was) has provided legal advice and supported key cases.
We are one of the only UK campaigning organisations that pursue our objectives not only through lobbying but also by taking on legal cases.
The cases we take on are ones that we believe will be test cases – cases that will set a useful precedent that others can follow. We bring cases before the courts in this country, and also before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Have a look at our page of key Liberty legal cases to find out more.
As well as acting as solicitors for people bringing (or sometimes defending) a case in the courts, we sometimes intervene in cases where we act for neither party. As third-party interveners we submit expert evidence to the court in our own name to assist it in deciding on a case. Interventions are an increasingly important route by which we can seek to influence the development of the law. You can search Liberty interventions from 2001 onwards.
Liberty receives far more requests for legal representation than we could ever act on, and the number of cases that we can take on is severely limited. Where we cannot act on a request for legal assistance and the enquiry touches on an area of law that is of concern to us or in which we have some expertise, we will provide advice and, where appropriate, suggestions as to where the person requesting our help can turn to for assistance.
For more information about our advice services please visit our Get Advice page.
Leading businessman and respected entrepreneur Karl E. Watkin MBE has today made a donation to the human rights group Liberty. Mr. Watkin’s support comes after he campaigned with Liberty against the unfair extradition of British citizens to face criminal charges abroad.