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Current News

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  • Even good things come at a cost - costs for pro bono cases
    15 December 2014 read more >
    The Victorian Supreme Court of Appeal has found that a successful party represented under a pro bono scheme has a right to recover costs, rejecting the Queensland authority on point and tapering the barrier for people experiencing financial hardship to access justice. The Court of Appeal was asked to determine whether the order for costs for a party represented on a pro bono basis offended the indemnity principle.
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  • Growing pro bono load shared by fewer lawyers
    12 December 2014 read more >
    A national report has found that fewer large law firm lawyers are participating in pro bono programs, but those who are increased their pro bono hours this year. The National Pro Bono Resource Centre released a report today revealing that the number of pro bono hours per lawyer per year increased to 31.7 hours in large firms, compared with 29.9 hours in 2012 and 29 hours in 2010.
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  • UK: 100 hours mandatory pro bono a year
    11 December 2014 read more >
    How practical is the suggestion that lawyers could close the funding gap by having to work for nothing? Solicitors: if you wish to continue practising, you must henceforth undertake 50 to 100 hours of pro bono work each and every year. The man who came out with that proposition, chief judge of New York State, Jonathan Lippman, is either a brave man or has never witnessed the solicitors' profession in full indignant spate.
    3 of 20
  • Women's grants fund new family law clinic and Girls Gotta Know app
    5 December 2014 read more >
    A new family law clinic for women of culturally diverse backgrounds and a digital platform for Muslim women to share their stories are among initiatives for Canberra women to share in $115,000 funding. Eight projects have successfully secured funding as part of this year's Women's Grants. The Women's Legal Centre (ACT and Region) has received $24,000 to open a specialist women's family law clinic for women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The centre also received another $3000 to develop the Girls Gotta Know App, for quick access to essential legal information for young women aged 14 to 24 years old.
    4 of 20
  • US: Everyone Gains When the Poor Receive Free Legal Services
    1 December 2014 read more >
    Law firms frequently extol the benefits of taking pro bono responsibilities to heart. They make the business case of how firms benefit from the training, exposure and hands-on experience that associates and other staff glean from such activities.Here is another compelling motivation: It's good for the economy.
    5 of 20
  • Women's clinic stops homeless cycle before it starts
    30 November 2014 read more >
    ... It was only with the help of the new free program to prevent women falling into homelessness that Meg was successful in getting the department to waive her debt. Run by legal service Justice Connect, the Women's Homelessness Prevention Project offers free consultations with a lawyer and - unusually for a legal clinic - a social worker, to provide more "holistic" support for women in incredibly complex situations.
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  • US : Report Says More In-house Lawyers Do Pro Bono
    25 November 2014 read more >
    ... In the run-up to the holiday, Robert Half Legal released some telling data about how lawyers are giving back through pro bono work. The data shows that attorneys in general have gotten more generous with their time and energy over the last few years as far as pro bono is concerned. The legal staffing agency broke the numbers down for to show that in-house lawyers are no exception to the rule.
    7 of 20
  • US: The Global Lawyer: Pro Bono Law in an Anti Bono Land
    19 November 2014 read more >
    I went to the European Pro Bono Forum this month expecting to be welcomed with open arms as an emissary of America's expansive pro bono culture. I found London's pro bono leaders suspicious of efforts to boost pro bono, and hostile to the American model. With good reason. America gives the poor generous pro bono relief in the bombed-out ruins of the state's retreat from legal services.
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  • UK: Pro bono is great education for law students, but they shouldn't fill gap left by legal aid cuts
    19 November 2014 read more >
    Law students are doing more pro bono work than ever before. In 2014, 70% of all UK law schools now provide free legal services to individuals, groups and organisations. According to the latest LawWorks Law School Pro Bono and Clinic report, this was up from 46% of law schools in 2006 and 61% in 2010.
    9 of 20
  • "Lawyer in a Bus" launches [media release]
    18 November 2014 read more >
    Today, Justice Connect's seniors law team launch an exciting new project - Lawyer in a Bus. Older Australians face a number of legal issues, and Justice Connect's Seniors Law team have developed a new way to offer help. Lawyer in a Bus is a program designed to bring legal support directly to older Australians experiencing legal difficulty. The kinds of challenges facing these people include elder abuse, relatives spending their money or selling their property without permission, being pressured to sign important documents without understanding them, and even physical threats and abuse.
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  • UK: UK and US firms launch pro bono commitment
    12 November 2014 read more >
    A group of 20 UK and US firms with a presence in London have launched a collective pro bono commitment, with an estimated 10,000 UK fee-earners signed up to a 25-hour annual target. The group launched its plan during last week's annual pro bono season.
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  • US: Law School shuts down pro bono legal clinic
    12 November 2014 read more >
    Closure attributed to budget constraints due to declining attendance. The downtown Lewis & Clark Legal Clinic, a source of pro bono legal services for low-income Portlanders since 1971, will close on Jan. 1, 2015. The Clinic was run by legal clinicians and law students enrolled in externships through the law school. It created a mutually beneficial relationship between LC and the community: students received practical law experience; low-income Portlanders received help with legal issues including child support modifications, domestic violence cases and tax controversies.
    12 of 20
  • Pressure mounts on Brandis to release justice report
    12 November 2014 read more >
    A showdown is looming between the Abbott government and members of the legal profession over the findings of a new report on community access to justice. A peak law body has called on Attorney-General George Brandis to release the findings of a Productivity Commission inquiry which recommends the government reverse funding cuts to community legal centres. The commission's report was completed in September but may not be released until next year, despite intense interest in its recommendations from the legal profession and consumer advocates.
    13 of 20
  • UK: Monthly pop-up family probono clinic launched at 1MCB
    10 November 2014 read more >
    A monthly pop-up pro bono family law clinic was launched at 1 Mitre Court Buildings (1MCB) last week. Dubbed Pop-Up@1MCB, the clinic was set up in response to the all-time high demand for pro bono advice following the government's cuts to legal aid, which have excluded thousands of the country's poorest and most vulnerable people from accessing justice, particularly in the areas of housing, immigration, welfare rights and criminal law, which most effect family cases
    14 of 20
  • Brandis rewrites funding for community lawyers
    10 November 2014 read more >
    Community legal centres around Australia may soon receive less funding from the Abbott government. Few people would realise that some of Australia’s most important legal protections for borrowers and investors have flowed from policy research and advocacy done by community legal centres. Dispute resolution schemes in the mortgage broking sector and the ban on home loan exit fees are just two such reforms. However, the work of many community legal centres across Australia might soon change, with the Abbott government now demanding that taxpayer funds not be used for policy and advocacy activities.
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  • Pro bono lawyers quietly helping thousands
    6 November 2014 read more >
    We often hear heart-warming stories of David and Goliath legal battles, fought with the help of a lawyer acting 'pro bono', or free of charge. Most recently, asylum seeker baby Ferouz Myuddin would not have had his day in court without the considerable pro bono help of law firm Maurice Blackburn, as explained in this article in the Brisbane Times by Monica Taylor, Director of the UQ Pro Bono Centre and former QPILCH staff member.
    16 of 20
  • UK: Golden age of pro bono: retired lawyers make a difference [paywall]
    6 November 2014 read more >
    Keeping senior lawyers brings benefits for pro bono clients and the firm retains a wealth of knowledge and expertise. After years of timesheets and billing, many lawyers cannot wait to sail into the sunset of retirement and enjoy a well-earned break. In reality though, lawyers enjoy being busy and can find it difficult to make the transition directly from busy-corporate-partner to the imagined bliss of full retirement.
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  • UK: As demand for pro bono assistance soars the Bar is answering the call for the most vulnerable: The Bar Pro Bono Unit reports on the past 18 months
    5 November 2014 read more >
    The Bar Pro Bono Unit is a national charity that match-makes members of the public who cannot afford a barrister and cannot obtain legal aid with barristers happy to volunteer their services free of charge. The Unit makes it possible for barristers to balance a dedicated practice with making a significant contribution to the community.
    18 of 20
  • US: TrustLaw Generates $54 Million Worth Of Free Legal Support For Global Nonprofits
    4 November 2014 read more >
    The Thomson Reuters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the world's biggest news and information provider, announced today that TrustLaw has generated $54 million worth of free legal support globally for nonprofit organizations and social enterprises in its first four years. The announcement, made by CEO Monique Villa at the annual TrustLaw Awards Ceremony, confirms the rapid growth and expansion of the program
    19 of 20
  • Tasmania: New Legal Aid chair, review announced
    4 November 2014 read more >
    Tasmania's Legal Aid Commission has a new chairman. Justice Minister Vanessa Goodwin announced this morning that Hobart-based Lawyer Patrick Lunn had been appointed to the position which was vacated by previous chair Peter Worrall. The government also announced an independent review of the commission, to be headed up by former Tasmanian Supreme Court Judge, the Honorable Peter Evans.
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The Centre welcomes its new Chair and Board Members

18 December 2014

The Centre welcomes its new Chair, Phillip Cornwell (Allens), and new Board Members, Daniel Creasey (CBP Lawyers) and Jane Hutchison (Hobart Community Legal Centre).

read more >


Report shows pro bono growth but reveals warning signs

12 December 2014

The Final Report on the Fourth Biennial National Law Firm Pro Bono Survey, released today, highlights the impressive pro bono contribution of large law firms which continues to grow. However, a number of concerning trends are also identified. Some of these trends were also recognised in the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry Report on Access to Justice Arrangements, released last week.

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Law firms agree to collaborate around a new UK pro bono aspirational target

13 November 2014

In what looks like being a significant moment in the development of legal pro bono culture in the UK, at least eighteen large law firms with offices in the UK agreed last week to participate in a new Collaborative Plan for Pro Bono in the UK.

read more >


Law Firm Survey Interim Report and Target Report released

2 October 2014

The Centre today released the Fourth National Law Firm Pro Bono Survey (Australian firms with 50+ lawyers) Interim Report and the Seventh Annual Performance Report on the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target. Forty of the 55 firms with 50+ lawyers, including 24 of the 25 largest, responded to the Survey. Of the 20 largest firms in Australia, 17 are now signatories to the Target.

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Pro bono at National CLCs Conference and Legal Aid NSW Civil Law Conference

27 August 2014

John Corker, Director of the Centre, attended the National CLCs Conference and the Legal Aid NSW Civil Law Conference this month. He shares his experience in this month’s newsletter.

read more >


National Partnership Agreement Review Final Report released

30 July 2014

The Final Report of the Review of the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Service, prepared by the Allen Consulting Group (now ACIL Allen Consulting) for the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department, has been released.

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Herbert Smith Freehills and Holding Redlich become Target signatories

24 June 2014

This month sees these two firms, both with outstanding pro bono practices become signatories to the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target, taking the number of Australian lawyers now covered by the Target to nearly 12,000.

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The Centre is hiring: Policy Officer (0.8 FTE) & Office Administrator (0.4 FTE)

29 May 2014

The Centre invites suitable candidates to apply for its currently advertised positions of Policy Officer (0.8 FTE, 4 days a week) and Office Administrator (0.4 FTE, 4 mornings a week). PLEASE NOTE: Applications for these positions have now closed.

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7th Annual Walk for Justice on National Pro Bono Day is biggest yet

30 April 2014

On National Pro Bono Day (13 May) the 7th annual Walk for Justice will be held in a record nine locations - Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, the Sunshine Coast, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns. Join in to support QPILCH, Justice Connect and JusticeNet SA!


Held every year on the Tuesday of Law Week, everyone from attorneys-general to judges, lawyers and law students will be taking part in Walks to celebrate pro bono and support their local pro bono referral organisation.

read more >


Productivity Commission does not support compulsory pro bono

10 April 2014

The Centre welcomes comments made by the Productivity Commission earlier this week in its draft report on Access to Justice Arrangements indicating that it does not consider compulsion an appropriate means of bolstering pro bono legal services, and recognises that pro bono plays only a small but important role in assisting disadvantaged Australians to obtain legal services.

read more >


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