Taylor Wessing acts for Human Dignity Trust to overturn laws criminalising homosexuality

Taylor Wessing has acted pro bono for London-based legal organisation the Human Dignity Trust in successfully overturning northern Cyprus’s laws criminalising homosexuality at the European Court of Human Rights.

Until the Northern Cypriot Parliament voted to abolish the laws this week, north Cyprus had been the last European jurisdiction criminalising gay people.

The Human Dignity Trust, which exists to support local challenges to anti-gay laws, appointed Taylor Wessing to its panel in 2011. This challenge — brought against Turkey — was launched in the European Court of Human Rights in January 2012, citing that it breached not only northern Cyprus’s own constitution, but also international human rights law.

The Taylor Wessing team was led by head of employment in the London office Paul Callaghan, with support from Sascha Foulks (disputes and investigations) and Chris Cooper (employment).

The firm instructed Nigel Plemming QC from 39 Essex Street and Tom Mountford from Blackstone Chambers and worked locally with northern Cypriot lawyer Oncel Polili.

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