WHO WE ARE

Andra Matei

Managing director

Andra is a human rights lawyer admitted to practice in Bucharest and Paris. Prior to founding Avant-Garde Lawyers, she practiced at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) where she assessed the ways in which national judicial authorities upheld the rights of applicants in hundreds of cases. Alongside legal practice, Andra has lectured in human rights and constitutional law at, among others, the Paris Bar School, the Global Campus of Human Rights and New York University, in Paris. Andra is the author of Art on Trial, a course for attorneys, and the founder of the 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. Matei holds a Master’s degree in Human Rights from the European Inter-University Centre in Venice and a postgraduate diploma from the International Faculty of Comparative Law in Strasbourg. In 2011 she received the Eiffel Scholarship of Excellence from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Matei’s ambition is to democratize and transform legal services for artists through unique strategies, including the mobilization of teams that include both legal and art experts.

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Magnus Ag

Strategy Consultant

Magnus Ag is an international human rights and freedom of expression advocate. He is 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. He 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 works with AGL to develop and grow partnerships and AGL’s network of pro bono lawyers. He also advises on the status of artistic freedom in the world. Magnus holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in political science from the University of Copenhagen. Follow Magnus on Twitter: @AgMagnus

Andrzej Mancewicz

Legal Consultant

Andrzej worked as a lawyer at the European Court of Human Rights before joining the United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was later appointed Head of office of the UN Representative at the UN political mission in Libya. He currently works as a senior adviser to the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe. Andrzej’s work has taken him to various parts of wider Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. He works with AGL on cases brought before the UN bodies and provides advice in diplomacy and in international relations. Andrzej speaks Polish, English, French, German and Russian.

 

Federica Erilmi

Project Officer

Federica is an advocate of intellectual property rights who makes the protection of creative processes, ideas, expressions and artworks, a personal objective. She currently 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 . Her research surrounding cultural rights alongside her personal interest in the creative industry have brought her closer to the field of art law, and to to Avant-Garde Lawyers where she provides premilinary legal research and looks after AGL’s social media and communication strategies. Connect with Federica on LinkedIn.

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Marijana Saraf

Legal fellow

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 as 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. In fall 2020 she will finish her bachelor studies in philosophy. Marijana started her legal fellowship at AGL on 1 July 2020 with the generous support of Georgetown University. 

Elsa Oz

Intern

Elsa holds a Bachelor’s degree and a Master 1 in public law from the University of Paris II Panthéon-Assas, as well as a Master 2 in real estate law from the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. She is currently a student at the Institut d’Études juridiques of Paris V. Elsa has been passionate about art since childhood, and has been drawing and painting ever since. Her interest in both art and law led her to join Avant-Garde Lawyers in order to contribute to achieving the mission of the organisation, while working at the same time in a field that combines her passions.

 

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. 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.