>Frequently Asked Questions


1. Legal Advice

Please see the FAQs on the Get Advice page for any queries about Liberty’s legal advice services.


2. About Liberty and our work

What does Liberty do?

For a general overview of Liberty's work, please visit our work.

What issues does Liberty cover? What are Liberty's main campaigns at the moment?

Each of the specific issues covered by Liberty are outlined in the About Human Rights section of our website and our Campaigns page.

How does Liberty decide which issues to focus on? 

Liberty's policy is guided by our members, who submit, debate and vote on motions at our Annual General meeting. If a motion is passed at an AGM, it becomes official Liberty policy.

In addition, at each AGM Liberty members are elected by their peers to serve on our Executive Committee and Council. These groups meet regularly throughout the year to oversee the work of Liberty's staff and ensure that the wishes of our members are being met.

Is Liberty a government body? How is it funded? 

Liberty is entirely independent, receiving no government funding so that we are free to criticise government policy in any area where we specialise. We are funded by a combination of membership subscriptions, non-government grants, donations from the public and income earned from a small amount of legal aid.

Is Liberty affiliated with any political party?

No. Liberty is and always has been a robustly cross-party, non-party membership organisation and we do not receive any government funding.

Over our eight-decade history, we have held governments of all colours to account. Our policy team regularly meets with frontbench and backbench MPs and Peers from all parties to ensure they protect and promote our rights and freedoms in all of their work, all the time. 

What's the difference between Liberty and the Civil Liberties Trust?

Liberty is both an unincorporated association made up of members, and a non-profit-making company that employs staff and runs campaigns.

The Civil Liberties Trust is a registered charity. It has no staff, but commissions Liberty to conduct charitable work such as providing public advice and information.

More details on the corporate structure of Liberty and the Civil Liberties Trust.

I'm concerned about a particular human rights issue. Are Liberty aware of it? 

Liberty's position as one of the UK's leading campaigning organisations means that we're usually aware of any new developments regarding human rights issues. However, we're always happy to hear from people who are interested in our work.

If you'd like to send Liberty some information on a particular subject, then you can use our contact form. Please note that we are not usually able to reply to correspondence which aims simply to provide Liberty with information.

If you are looking for advice or guidance from Liberty on a specific topic, then you will need to use our contact form, selecting “Information” as the query type.


3. Membership

If you are interested in becoming a Liberty member, you can join online easily and securely here. You can contact our Membership team by calling 020 7403 3888.

How much does it cost to be a member of Liberty? 

Standard membership of Liberty is £30 a year (equivalent to £2.50 a month) but you can also join our Lawyers for Liberty scheme for £60 a year (£5 a month).

Are there any reduced rates available?

There is a reduced rate of £12 a year available for students, pensioners and the unwaged. Find out more.

Is everyone entitled to join Liberty?

Yes – Liberty membership is open to everyone who supports our aims and objectives.

I live abroad, can I still be a member?

Yes. Just make sure you give us your full address, so we can make sure any materials we send arrive safely.

Can I upgrade my membership?

Yes. Please contact our membership team to upgrade your membership.

Can I buy Liberty membership as a gift?

Yes. Please contact us directly if you wish to give Liberty membership as a present or gift. We will need your address as well as the address of the recipient.

What methods of payment does Liberty accept?

You can join Liberty by setting up a regular direct debit payment, or you can make a payment with a credit card, cheque, or postal order. The only form of payment we can't accept is American Express, as we have to pay additional charges.

Sadly we can't accept CAF or KPP payments, as Liberty is not a charity and membership subscriptions do not qualify for Gift Aid.

Can I pay by annual rather than monthly Direct Debit?

Yes. Although most of our members join by monthly Direct Debit, you can set up an annual payment by contacting the membership team directly.

Can I pay by American Express?

No – we can't accept American Express as we have to pay additional charges.

Does Liberty recommend a particular form of payment?

Our preferred method of payment for membership subscriptions is Direct Debit: this cuts our administration costs by 80 per cent, meaning more of your gift goes directly towards supporting our campaigns.

Can you claim Gift Aid on my membership?

No. Any payments made in relation to membership of Liberty are not eligible for Gift Aid.

For more information about restrictions around Gift Aid, please visit the HMRC website.

If you wish to make a general donation to Liberty, then you can donate to our charitable sister organisation the Civil Liberties Trust. Donations made to the CLT are eligible for Gift Aid.

Can I leave a gift to Liberty in my Will?

Yes. Please see our page about leaving a legacy for more information.

Liberty members also have the opportunity to have a Will written for free, thanks to our membership of the Free Wills Network.

How long does it take to process a new membership?

Although you will usually receive a response from us much sooner, we aim to process and acknowledge all gifts within 14 days.

Why have I not received any correspondence from you acknowledging my gift?

It can take us up to 14 days to acknowledge gifts and subscriptions during busy periods. If you have not heard from us within 14 days of sending Liberty a gift or becoming a member, please contact our Membership team immediately.

Will Liberty ever sell my membership details to a third party?

Never. We use a print and mail service to send out our membership newsletter and email list management software to send out our email updates and so inevitably these services require access to our members’ postal and email addresses.

However your details are not recorded or shared by these services and will only be used by them on our behalf.

If you wish to unsubscribe from our email updates you can do so easily by using the 'unsubscribe' link in the foot of the email.

You can also let us know if you wish to stop receiving any mailings from us which are processed outside our office.

Where can I find my membership number?

We try to print your membership number at the top of all membership correspondence. Please contact our membership department at any time if you would like us to confirm your membership number.


4. Events, speakers, interviews and research

I'm a member of the press and I'd like to interview someone from Liberty. Who should I contact?

Contact Liberty's press office.

Please note that this team only deals with members of the press, and won't be able to respond to general enquiries.

Please see our general contact page for details of how to get in touch with us if you're not a member of the press.

Can I book Martha Spurrier to speak at or take part in an event I'm organising?

We are always happy to receive invitations for Liberty’s Director to speak at events, although her diary is generally extremely full so we can't guarantee her availability.

For details of how to submit an invitation, please contact us.

Can I book other speakers from Liberty to speak at or take part in an event I'm organising?

Several of our staff members are able to take on speaking engagements on behalf of Liberty. For details of how to submit an invitation, please contact Liberty's office.

Can I book a member of Liberty staff to do a presentation at my school?

Yes – we will do our best (depending on staff availability) to provide a speaker for your school. For details of how to submit a speaker request, please contact us.

Can you send me some Liberty campaign materials?

Yes, we're happy to send out Liberty leaflets, posters and other campaign materials as long as our stocks last.

Please use our contact page to get in touch with us if you'd like us to send you or your organisation anything.

I'm running a campaign on a particular issue and I would like Liberty's support. Can you promote my campaign to your members, run a joint event with me, or give an official Liberty endorsement?

We're very interested to hear about other groups or individuals who are running human rights campaigns in the UK.

Our limited resources, and our focus on issues which have already been identified as priorities, means that we can't always offer our assistance, but we'll do our best to help.

I'm interested in a particular issue. Can Liberty provide me with additional research / documents related to it?

Most of Liberty's publications and materials from the last 10 years are available to read or download on our website, and we aren't usually able to provide any older materials because we do not have enough office space to store hard copies.

I'm researching an issue related to human rights, and have some questions about it. Can I interview someone from Liberty as part of my research?

Because Liberty is an extremely small organisation with a focus on campaigning rather than research, we're not usually able to take part in surveys or research projects.

If your research covers a key area of Liberty's campaigning work, then you are welcome to send in some brief questions: we'll do our best to offer assistance, but unfortunately we can't guarantee a substantive response.

Can I quote from a Liberty publication, speech, or newspaper article in my writing and / or research?

Permission to quote or re-use material written or published by Liberty generally depends on what you plan to use and how. Please contact us with details of your project.


5. Working or volunteering at Liberty

How does Liberty recruit paid staff and volunteers?

All of Liberty's vacancies, whether paid or voluntary, are advertised on our website, and recruited competitively. We often advertise vacancies elsewhere (e.g. in the Guardian newspaper and website) in addition to posting them on our own site.

To see if there are any current vacancies, please visit our jobs page.

I'd like to send a CV or speculative application for paid or voluntary work, is this okay?

Please do not send us speculative applications or CVs. Because we use position-specific application forms for each recruitment, we aren't able to keep applications or CVs on file.

What kind of volunteering opportunities are there at Liberty? Do you offer a work experience or internship program?

Due to our extremely limited office space and resources Liberty is unable to accept work experience students outside of our annual summer scheme.

However, we regularly recruit volunteers to assist with our work across various departments. Positions are generally for one day a week in office hours, working alongside our paid staff in a specific Liberty department (e.g. Membership, Operations or our Legal Advice team) at our London office.

For full details of volunteer vacancies, please keep an eye on the volunteer page of our site.

Are there other ways I can get involved with Liberty's work?

Liberty undertakes a broad variety of campaigns, events and actions, as well as fundraising drives, and we're always looking for supporters to get involved with these.

For details of the campaigns we're currently running, and how you can get involved, please visit our Campaigns page.

You can find information about fundraising to support Liberty on this page.

If you are a professional with skills or experience that you feel might be useful to Liberty then we always welcome offers of pro bono assistance. There may not be an appropriate project available immediately but we will try our best to take up any offers.

Please contact us with some information about what you do, your experience or portfolio, and what you’d be most interested in working on.

Gifts in kind can also make a difference to our work and help us keep our costs down. Examples of donations we have received from supporters in the past include:

  • Advertising space
  • Venue hire
  • Print services

If you or your company would like to support Liberty with a gift in kind, please contact us.


6. Liberty’s Funding

Does Liberty receive funding from the Government?

No. Liberty is an independent membership organisation, with no political affiliation and we do not accept funding from the Government.

Where does Liberty’s funding come from?

We receive funding in a range of different ways, including from trusts and foundations, membership fees, individual donations, legal fees and legacies.

Our total income for the year 2018 was approximately £2,300,000.

While our precise income sources vary from year to year, they generally break down as follows:

  • 62% from charitable trusts and foundations. You can see a list of our current trust and foundation funders here.
  • 22% from our membership base of approximately 10,000 people paying an average of £5 per month.
  • 6% from individuals donating £10,000 or more. In 2018 this amounted to £115,000 from five major donors. We do not publish the names of our major donors without their express permission.
  • 6% comes from legal fees and other miscellaneous income
  • 4% from smaller donations through appeals, such as the ‘Big Give Christmas Challenge’.

We also receive income from gifts in wills (also known as ‘legacies’), however this amount can range vastly from year to year. In 2018 we received roughly £5,000 from legacies.

Can anyone donate to Liberty?

No. We conduct due diligence – using sources including Companies House and Charity Commission records, media and social media references, and any individual or company website associated with the donor and/or donation – for any donations from individuals where the donation is worth at least £10,000 (as a one-off donation or part of a multi-year commitment or if donations cumulatively amount to the same amount).

A donation will be refused where it is clear that the views and/or activities of the donor are directly inimical to the objectives of Liberty, the agreed policies of Liberty, or to the beneficiaries of Liberty.

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Crime (International Co-operation) Bill: Liberty Response

21 November 2002

John Wadham, director of Liberty: (on Schengen info system, banks etc)"This throws more information on every one of us open to any of the 14 police forces across the EU"

Read more