Gibson Dunn Pro Bono Newsletter Los Angeles Office

Gibson Dunn Nominated for Impact Award at 2018 TrustLaw Awards

In 2017, Refugee Council (a charity that works with refugees and people seeking asylum in the United Kingdom) received reports that representatives from a private security company on contract with the British Home Office to provide accommodations for asylees had started wearing body cameras during the accommodation visits.  The company alleged that the cameras were a safety precaution, but many NGOs were concerned by the practice and sought legal advice about its potential violations to human rights law, privacy laws, and data protection laws. 

Gibson Dunn’s London office contributed summaries of the legal requirements and constraints applicable if a provider of asylum accommodation contracted by the Home Office chooses to equip staff who interact with residents with body-worn cameras.  Understanding the legal framework was critical for Maurice Wren, CEO of Refugee Council who advocated for the protection and privacy of asylum seekers to Home Office officials.  “I felt [this] was necessary, particularly given the vulnerability and, in practical terms, the powerlessness of many of the people housed in asylum accommodation,” he said. 

These legal summaries helped delay the introduction of the body-worn cameras, and the firm, along with Refugee Council, was recognized by Trustlaw (the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono legal program) for its efforts.