Who we are
The Movement Defence Committee [MDC] is an autonomous working group of the Law Union of Ontario made up of legal workers, law students, activists and lawyers which provides legal support to progressive organizations and activists in Toronto. We recognize that members of oppressed groups are at higher risk when they encounter the law and we work to provide information and support that is specific to these groups. Some of us were previously involved in the Common Front Legal Collective (2001-2008).
Who we work with
The MDC will consider a request for support from any political organization, group or individual that is working to create progressive social change and which operates under basic anti-racist and anti-oppression principles.
What we do
The MDC provides legal support and trainings to such groups organizing demonstrations or direct actions; offers legal observer trainings to law students, lawyers and activists; and works to respond to police misconduct and protect freedom of expression and the right to dissent. In addition to ‘know your rights’ trainings, we also offer workshops on civil disobedience and direct action and how to set up your own legal support committee.
Demonstration support can include assistance with staffing an arrest hotline and/or legal office, tracking of arrestees and bail support (including locating sureties and other supports, organizing volunteer lawyers to conduct bail hearings, and/or liaising with duty counsel). While we cannot guarantee pro bono representation for trials, we can assist arrestees with accessing legal aid, organizing defence committees and referrals to progressive counsel.