WHO WE ARE

Andra Matei

Founding Director

Andra is an art law lawyer practicing in Paris. Her core expertise relates to creating unique legal strategies and the mobilization of teams that include both legal and art experts to best protect artists and the creation processPrior to founding Avant-Garde Lawyers, she worked at the European Court of Human Rights where she assessed the ways in which national judicial authorities upheld the rights of applicants in hundreds of cases. Alongside legal practice, Andra lectures in human rights strategic litigation, artistic freedom and the rights of artists. She regularly teaches Art on Trial, a course for case-lawyers at the Strasbourg Court and is the founder of Speak Truth to Power Project, a platform that uses role-play to challenge legal professionals in international courts to reflect on their work from the plaintiff’s perspective. Andra holds a Master’s degree in Human Rights from the Global Campus of Human Rights in Venice and a postgraduate diploma from the International Faculty of Comparative Law in Strasbourg. In 2011 she was awarded the Eiffel Scholarship of Excellence from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in 2021 she received the Pro Bono Prize of the Paris Bar and the Quebec Bar. 

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Magnus Ag

Strategy Adviser

Magnus is part of the founding team of Avant-Garde Lawyers. He is an international human rights and freedom of expression advocate and the founder and director of Bridge Figures, a digital human rights project amplifying cultural diversity and creative expressions for social change. Previously he worked for Freemuse, a CSO promoting artistic freedom worldwide, and for the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York where he spent 5 years advocating for freedom of expression and leading missions to Bangladesh, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey and Zimbabwe, as well as Brussels, Geneva, New York and Washington DC. Magnus also worked for the Danish Ministry for Science, Technology and Innovation and in 2007, he developed the first social media campaign for the Mayor of Auckland, in New Zealand. Magnus holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Copenhagen. Follow Magnus on Twitter: @AgMagnus

Federica Erilmi

Case Officer

Federica joined Avant-Garde Lawyers in December 2019 as Project Officer. An advocate of intellectual property rights, Federica makes the protection of creative processes, ideas, expressions and artworks, a personal objective. Alongside her part-time responsibilities at Avant-Garde Lawyers, Federica works as Legal Counsel for a scale-up company in the field of FinTech, where she is also the DPO. Federica holds an LLM degree in Intellectual Property Law from the University of Copenhagen and a Bachelor’s degree in European Law conferred by the University of Aberystwyth and the University of Utrecht. Connect with Federica on LinkedIn.

> LinkedIn profile

Sanchit Saluja

Project Executive

Sanchit joined Avant-Garde Lawyers as Project Executive in 2022. He is a graduate in Cultural Policy and Management from Sciences Po, Paris and has done his undergraduate studies in Law and Arts from National University, New Delhi. He has prior experience working in the field of advocacy and campaigns for artistic freedom with Freemuse, a CSO working on artistic freedom. 

 

 

 

LinkedIn profile

 

 

Laura Pasquero

Gender Expert

Laura joined our team in September 2020. She is a technical and operational adviser, trainer and researcher in the area of gender, including gender-based violence prevention and response, within the humanitarian, international relief and human rights fields. She regularly supports gender transformative work within international agencies, national and international NGOs, and civil society organisations, primarily in conflict and displacement settings. Laura graduated in International Relations from the University of Turin (Italy), obtained a Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation from the Global Campus of Human Rights and qualified as an Independent Sexual Violence Advocate (ISVA) from the University of Worcester (UK).

Marijana Saraf

Legal fellow

Marijana started her legal fellowship at AGL in July 2020 with the generous support of Georgetown University. Marijana is a lawyer specializing in constitutional law, human rights, and intellectual property. She has worked at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and is currently a lawyer at the Austrian Constitutional Court, in Vienna. A top graduate of the University of Vienna, Marijana has refined her academic education at Harvard University, Essex University, and Georgetown University where she focused her LLM studies on fundamental rights and freedoms of vulnerable groups. Marijana is a passionate lawyer, inclined to ponder hard questions regarding the law as a tool for justice both on individual and systemic levels.

Diana Elena Stoica

Legal Fellow

Diana is a soon-to-be trainee solicitor living in Scotland. She holds an LL.B. in European and Comparative Law from Maastricht University, and an accelerated LL.B. in Scots law from the University of Glasgow, awarded with distinction. She has completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Practice at the University of Glasgow, with Merit. Diana has worked in both the public and private sectors, gaining a wide range of experience, spanning from immigration and employment law, to contractual disputes, housing law, and human rights compliance. She currently directs the ArtPulse project at Human Rights Pulse, an online media platform, where she encourages the exploration and expansion of the vital links between the arts and human rights. She speaks 4 languages fluently.

Mayra Kost

Communications Intern

Mayra is a 2nd year student at Sciences Po, Paris, majoring in Middle Eastern Politics & Humanities. As the daughter of a Turkish artist, she has been immersed in the tensions between art and politics her entire life. She is particularly interested in the interaction between local and international courts in ensuring that freedom of expression is accessible to all. Mayra has previously interned with the Interior Affairs Ministry in Ankara, Turkey, where she researched on Turkey’s compliance with international human rights law and its obligations towards refugees. She speaks English, Turkish, Polish and French.

 

ADVISORY BOARD

Manfred Nowak

Manfred Nowak is a renowned Austrian human rights expert, currently serving as the Secretary General of the Global Campus of Human Rights, the largest network of human rights educators in the world, including about 100 Universities and 7 regional Master programmes in different world regions. Manfred who served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture from 2004 to 2010 is also Professor for International Human Rights at the University of Vienna and Director of the Vienna Master of Arts in Applied Human Rights at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Manfred is also a former judge at the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina and in 2016, he was appointed Independent Expert leading the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty. 

Julia Laffranque

Julia Laffranque is a former judge (2011-2019) at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. A previous Justice of the Supreme Court of Estonia (2004–2010) and Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice of Estonia (1996-2004). Awarded the Estonian White Cross, she is Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite of France. President of the Consultative Council of European Judges of Council of Europe (CCJE) (2008-2010), President of the International Federation for European Law (FIDE) from 2010-2012 and a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (The Hague). Doctor Iuris (PhD) of Law at the University of Tartu and LL.M from University of Münster, Germany. Julia has published over 100 articles in Estonian, English, German and French in different European and US-American legal journals and speaks Estonian, German, English, French, Finnish and Russian. Her hobby is amateur acting and drama (a member of Vilde Teater in Estonia and Tagora Theatre in Strasbourg). Founder of theTheatre Club of European Court of Human Rights (2015). Julia is also a singer in the European Choir of Estonians .

Nani Jansen Reventlow

Nani is a recognized international lawyer and expert in human rights litigation responsible for groundbreaking freedom of expression cases across several national and international jurisdictions. Nani obtained the first freedom of expression judgment from the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Konaté v. Burkina Faso) and from the East African Court of Justice (Burundi Journalists’ Union v. Burundi). She currently works together with Leigh Day to bring new cases to the African regional human rights courts. Founding Director of the Digital Freedom Fund, which supports partners in Europe to advance digital rights through strategic litigation. Nani is also an Associate Tenant at Doughty Street Chambers, a Lecturer in Law at Columbia Law School and an Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, where she was a 2016-2017 Fellow. Nani has overseen the litigation practice of the Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) globally, leading or advising on cases before the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Committee, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and several African regional forums (2011-2016).

Malcolm Langford

Malcolm Langford is a Professor of Public Law, University of Oslo and Co-Director of the Centre on Law and Social Transformation, Chr. Michelsen Institute and University of Bergen. A lawyer and social scientist, his publications span human rights and freedom of expression, international investment, international development, comparative constitutionalism, technology and the politics of the legal profession. Malcolm’s awards include the University of Oslo Teaching Prize 2019, the University Medal in Economics from the University of NSW and the Young Scholar Prize from the European Society of International Law for his paper on Managing Backlash. Malcolm is also Co-Editor of the Cambridge University Book Series on Globalization and Human Rightsleads a major research programme on the politics of branding the Nordic Model, and co-coordinates three large research grants on the politics of rights. Director of the Centre on Experiential Legal Learning (CELL) and coordinator the Digital Lawyer project with financing from DIKU.  Chairperson of the Academic Forum for Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), coordinates the Forum for Law and Social Science, co-directs the Global School on Socio-Economic Rights and Constitutional Law and Rights research groups, An advisor to various UN bodies, governments and NGOs. He sits on the board of the European Implementation Network (EIN), ICJ-Norge and JustLabs.


Kimberley Motley

Kimberley Motley has earned a reputation as one of the world’s most respected & successful international lawyers in human rights. Motley is the first & only foreign lawyer to litigate in Afghanistan’s criminal, civil, & commercial courts. Her international practice has grown and she represents people on almost every continent.
Kimberley’s success has included but is not limited to, securing the first Presidential Pardon for a rape victim charged with adultery which subsequently decriminalized running away as a crime in Afghanistan, successfully returning children & women from the UK, Australia, U.S, etc who were internationally abducted, successfully working towards the release of Former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia and releasing Cuban artist El Sexto from prison. Her expert legal work has earned international attention on BBC, CNN, as well as profiles in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, among many others. Kimberley Motley has given a TED TALK with over a million views entitled “How I Defend the Rule of Law.” An award-winning documentary highlighting her work entitled “Motley’s Law” was released in 2015. In addition to this, Motley’s book LAWLESS was released in September 2019.

OUR NETWORK OF LAWYERS

our-work

To help us better achieve our goals, we have built a network of public interest lawyers committed to the delivery of legal services at no fee or at substantially reduced fees to artists of limited means.