Mishcon Purpose

Purpose Litigation

As a firm we are committed to achieving the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. Our commitment to having a material positive impact on society and the environment is enshrined in our constitution and, along with our core values, informs the way we run our business, including the advice that we give to clients.

In 2020, we launched Mishcon Purpose, a specialist business of environmental, social and governance (ESG) experts. Mishcon Purpose works with our lawyers, clients and trusted partners to elevate standards and practices for social and business value creation; and to use the law to hold those responsible for harm to account, and to catalyse change.

We deliver on this second strand – holding those responsible for harm to account – by harnessing the power and expertise of our cross-departmental litigators to deliver positive change for communities and the planet through our Purpose Litigation offering.

Purpose Litigation is an innovative approach to identifying, building and funding claims that drive constructive societal change and deliver measurable positive impact with a focus on three core themes: Human Rights and Governance, Environment, and Data Rights and Online Accountability.

Driving change and delivering impact through legal action and participation in legal and political institutions is not new to Mishcon de Reya. It is in the DNA of our firm, from the role Lord Mishcon played on the 1957 Wolfenden report which led to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, to defending a claim brought by Holocaust denier David Irving in 2000 to acting for Gina Miller in two landmark constitutional cases in 2017 and 2019. The unusual depth of our experience in this area is not accidental – it reflects what we see as the proper role of a lawyer in public life and is central to the ethos and culture of our firm.

We are also unusual by nature of our in-house capability in data science and claims management which, along with our litigation fund MDR Solutions I, provides a strong platform for us to build, identify and fund claims. We have strong relationships with ESG funders, philanthropic and crowdfunding organisations and NGOs that invest in legal claims which drive change and deliver impact and with national and international law firms that can support claims in this jurisdiction and other jurisdictions.

The approach

Origination

Claims come to Purpose Litigation through a variety of means. Primarily these claims are either identified by the in-house team at Mishcon de Reya, or brought to the team by our partners.

Funding

Purpose Litigation is a commercial proposition. Funding is secured via litigation funders (including MDR Solutions I), ESG funders, philanthropic organisations, NGOs and crowdfunders.

Book building and case management

Our in-house claims management team will assist the legal team in managing cases with book building primarily undertaken by a third party organisation. 

Impact assessment

Mishcon Purpose is developing innovative approaches to measuring impact beyond the quantum of damages in a particular claim. These are being developed in conjunction with partners in academia and leading economists.

Types of claim

Purpose Litigation brings varying and innovative claims on behalf of clients in this jurisdiction (England and Wales) and in other international jurisdictions. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Group and representative claims
  • Judicial review and other claims for declaratory relief
  • Regulatory complaints
  • Test cases
  • Competition litigation
  • Complaints to international judicial/quasi-judicial bodies
  • Employment claims
  • Shareholder activism

Experience

  • We are founding members of the Ukraine Justice Alliance, an alliance of lawyers and other professionals who are seeking to provide assistance in response to the invasion of Ukraine. One of our current projects is "sanctions to reparations" – we are working alongside international experts to determine how assets that are frozen as a result of sanctions can be used to fund the rebuilding of Ukraine.
  • We launched legal action against the UK government after it rejected visa applications from 35 Afghan judges - who were both male and female - being hunted down by Taliban members.
  • In a landmark case before the Court of Appeal, we successfully challenged the fee that the Home Office charges children to register as British citizens. This was ultimately overturned in the Supreme Court. Since this decision we have been campaigning to have the law changed by Parliament.
  • We acted for the Jewish Labour Movement in their complaint to the EHRC about antisemitism in the Labour Party. This complaint was upheld – the EHRC concluded that the Labour Party was not a safe space for Jewish people or those who stand up against antisemitism. Significant changes have since been implemented by the Labour Party as a result of this complaint.
  • We secured a historic victory in a Supreme Court challenge to the suspension of Parliament by Prime Minister Boris Johnson by our client Gina Miller (Miller 2). The Supreme Court ruled that the advice given to the Queen to suspend Parliament was “unlawful, void and of no effect”. This was the most significant constitutional case in recent history.
  • We acted for Gina Miller in her case to ensure that the Government followed the correct constitutional process in triggering Article 50 (Miller 1). This case ultimately went to the Supreme Court, who found in our client's favour, upholding the sovereignty of Parliament.

  • We are legal advisors to The Lifescape Project and The Partnership for Policy Integrity, environmental groups that have filed a landmark complaint with the OECD against the UK’s largest carbon emitter, Drax Group plc.
  • We advised the charity Stop Ivory on the development of its legal strategy to secure resolutions of the Parties the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES), and new laws banning the commercial trade in ivory including in the UK, under the Ivory Act 2018.

  • We represent members of the Rohingya community in a legal action against Facebook, alleging that its negligence encouraged and facilitated the genocide carried out by the Myanmar regime and its extremist supporters against the Rohingya people. We are working with colleagues in the UK and the United States to seek justice and damages for the Rohingya people, about 1 million of whom are still living in refugee camps in Bangladesh.
  • We are bringing a representative action on behalf of Andrew Prismall and the approximately 1.6 million individuals whose confidential medical records were obtained by Google and DeepMind Technologies in breach of data protection laws.
  • We are acting for a client who has launched a crowdfunding campaign on CrowdJustice seeking to challenge the legislation relating to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act which she believes breaches her fundamental rights to data protection and privacy.
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