Australian Pro Bono Centre

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Current News

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  • ABA tackles Indigenous incarceration and legal aid shortfall
    3 February 2016 read more >
    Patrick O'Sullivan SC, an Adelaide-based barrister, took over the ABA presidency from Fiona McLeod SC at the start of February. Mr O'Sullivan told Lawyers Weekly he intends to continue lobbying on many of the issues championed by Ms McLeod, including Indigenous incarceration.
    1 of 20
  • WA bushfires: Free legal advice for South West fire victims to help with insurance
    21 January 2016 read more >
    Residents affected by the deadly bushfire in WA's South West can access free legal advice to negotiate insurance claims and deal with destroyed documents. Attorney General Michael Mischin said since the February 2011 bushfires in Kelmscott and Roleystone, Legal Aid WA had worked alongside community legal centres and private lawyers to provide free help after natural disasters.
    2 of 20
  • US: Raising the Bar: The 2016 Pro Bono Hot List
    18 January 2016 read more >
    "Faster, higher, stronger," may be the Olympic creed, but it could also serve as the battle cry of the law firms on our 2016 Pro Bono Hotlist. Lawyers volunteered their services to fight for voting rights, for veterans and to protect free speech across the globe. They bolstered efforts against human trafficking, advocated for prisoners, for students and for transgender people seeking health care.
    3 of 20
  • INDIA: Professional litigants of the Supreme Court
    18 January 2016 read more >
    Courts coming down heavily on litigants is not a new phenomenon, especially in public interest litigation. Recently, chief justice of India T.S. Thakur asked if the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, a non-profit organisation, was a "professional litigant". In response, senior advocate Prashant Bhushan said CPIL was not a professional litigant, citing the fact that it received no funds for the cases it pursued. "Most of the work is pro bono," he said.
    4 of 20
  • NZ: Rise in self-representation shows need for examination of access to justice [media release]
    18 January 2016 read more >
    The rise in people who represent themselves in court proceedings is one of several indicators that a wide-ranging examination of the barriers to an accessible justice system is needed, New Zealand Law Society President Chris Moore says.
    5 of 20
  • NZ: Problems growing from unaffordable legal costs
    15 January 2016 read more >
    The gap between those who can afford legal aid and those who can afford a lawyer is growing - leaving more and more people to fend for themselves in the courtroom. New Zealand lawyers are echoing comments from the UK, that the civil justice system is unaffordable for most people. Law Society spokesman Andrew Beck said judges here have noted a growing number of people attempting to represent themselves.
    6 of 20
  • Demand for apology: Asian customers angry at Woolworths for blocking baby formula orders
    14 January 2016 read more >
    Three furious customers are demanding an apology from Woolworths for cancelling their online baby formula orders and suspending their accounts, accusing the supermarket giant of racial profiling... Frustrated by Woolworths' lack of explanation, they have banded together to lodge a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission... "They're disturbed and wanting an investigation," said their lawyer Kingsley Liu of The People's Solicitors, working pro bono. "We're preparing the paperwork. If it's not resolved, it will continue to the Federal Court level."
    7 of 20
  • US: Pro Bono Makes All the Difference in Family Matters
    13 January 2016 read more >
    Justice Jeffrey Sunshine's moving, landmark decision in Alice M. v. Terrance T. is about more than the impact of egregious conduct on the equitable distribution of the marital portion of a city worker's pension; it is also about access to economic justice and the right to counsel. Had it not been for pro bono representation, plaintiff Alice M. might have had to share her only asset, a modest retirement account, with a man who brutally and repeatedly raped, assaulted and terrorized her.
    8 of 20
  • CHINA: China detains Swedish human rights worker Peter Dahlin
    13 January 2016 read more >
    China has detained a Swedish human rights worker in Beijing, amid a crackdown on defence lawyers. Peter Dahlin is believed to be the first foreign national detained in connection with the drive. The foreign ministry said Mr Dahlin, who co-founded a group offering legal aid to Chinese citizens, is suspected of harming the national interest. Since July, nearly 300 people in China's legal community have faced police questioning or detention.
    9 of 20
  • UK: Lawyers fees and legal aid cuts block access to justice, warn top judges
    13 January 2016 read more >
    Huge fees charged by lawyers and cuts to legal aid have forced huge numbers of ordinary people to abandon the justice system, senior judges have warned. In a stark message, the Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice, said bringing legal action - or, alternatively, defending oneself against litigation - has become "unaffordable" for most people.
    10 of 20
  • US: Worcester, Lowell socked with costs, fees from lawsuits on panhandling limits
    12 January 2016 read more >
    The lawyers who successfully challenged panhandling restrictions in Worcester and Lowell are now seeking a significant amount of spare change. The ACLU of Massachusetts and... Goodwin Procter LLP have asked a federal judge for $1,026,223 in fees and costs from the city of Worcester in connection with a 2013 lawsuit that resulted in a federal judge last November striking down the city's panhandling ordinances.
    11 of 20
  • SINGAPORE: Drumming up a pro bono spirit
    13 January 2016 read more >
    An initiative of the National University of Singapore law school to spur public service among undergraduates - by examining students via their contributions to a migrant worker legal clinic - should induce broader reflection on the volunteer work of professionals... The social threats posed by widening income gaps in current times require more professionals to embrace their responsibility to give back to society by, for example, offering services to benefit those of limited means.
    12 of 20
  • US: Why Do Pro Bono Work? [blog]
    10 January 2016 read more >
    Everyone is entitled to a lawyer, right? Right. Each member of The Florida Bar, as part of that member's professional responsibility, should perform at least 20 hours of pro bono legal service [per year] to those who cannot afford private legal services. Along with performing pro bono services, members of the Bar also have the option to make a contribution of at least $350 to a legal aid organization.
    13 of 20
  • Domestic violence: How to restore women's trust in justice
    10 January 2016 read more >
    What is important to victims' sense of justice are: active participation, being heard, validation, offender accountability and restoration. These findings come from the report Will Somebody Listen to me? by colleagues at the Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre. Only a small number of women said they wanted the offender imprisoned. The findings are also consistent with feedback to the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
    14 of 20
  • Residents in Williamtown contamination zone flooded in
    7 January 2016 read more >
    Williamtown is again inundated with flood water ... the large volumes of water now pooled around homes have again raised fears about contaminants leaking from a toxic lake at the Williamtown Air Force base. The Law Society of New South Wales will be running a pro bono legal information helpline over the coming days to assist people who've been impacted by the severe weather. The helpline will provide direct access to basic legal information and referrals to pro bono solicitors who can help with legal matters including insurance claims and power of attorney.
    15 of 20
  • US: In-House Pro Bono in Practice
    5 January 2016 read more >
    Often when someone unfamiliar with the topic hears about in-house pro bono and Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO) ... the first question they ask is: What kind of pro bono legal services do in-house counsel provide? Or, if they are new in-house counsel, they may ask: How can I help? The need for pro bono assistance is so great and the opportunities are so plentiful that selecting projects can be daunting. It involves balancing the interests and concerns of your company, department and legal staff, with the needs of the communities.
    16 of 20
  • SINGAPORE: NUS law module assesses students on pro bono work
    5 January 2016 read more >
    While most budding lawyers prepare for their exams by poring over stacks of notes, a group of final-year law students spent this term helping foreign workers. They are the pioneer batch in the National University of Singapore's (NUS) new legal clinic module. It assesses students not through written exams, but on how they help migrant workers in legal matters [which] could range from explaining work injury or salary claims to workers to helping a qualified lawyer defend a worker in court.
    17 of 20
  • UK: BPP's Pro Bono Team at PILnet in Rome [BLOG]
    15 December 2015 read more >
    Every year PILnet hosts a conference for representatives from universities, law firms and NGOS from all corners of the globe to find out how pro bono lawyers can work together to tackle some of the crisis issues in the world, to hear about new technology and ideas for projects and to find partners for engaging in pro bono work.
    18 of 20
  • Law Access 'safety net' legal service under pressure from funding cuts, says chairman Matt Keogh
    10 December 2015 read more >
    A legal service of last resort for cash-strapped West Australians is anticipating an increased demand as government-funded services struggle to keep up. Law Access acts as a pro bono "safety net" for people Legal Aid doesn't have the resources to service because of continued funding restrictions. Law Access chairman and Labor candidate for the new federal seat of Burt, Matt Keogh, said the service had received double the usual number of applications for assistance in the past year.
    19 of 20
  • US: Pro Bono Goes Global
    11 December 2015 read more >
    Some big law firms are venturing into developing regions to offer voluntary services and to help advance the rule of law. In the US legal profession, it is a well-entrenched principle that lawyers have an ethical obligation to provide pro bono legal services to poor clients... But outside the United States and a handful of other countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom, the practice of pro bono has been slow to emerge within legal circles.
    20 of 20

Law Access in WA awarded $266,000 by Lotterywest

16 December 2015

Law Access, which coordinates pro bono legal assistance in WA, has just received a $266,000 grant from Lotterywest, coinciding with the one year anniversary of its independence from the Law Society of Western Australia as a separate entity.


For this story and more see the December edition of Australian Pro Bono News.

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Annual Report 2015 released

16 December 2015

The Centre's Annual Report for 2014/2015 has now been released. You can view it online here, or download it as a PDF (2 MB).

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Free volunteer practising certificates now available in five jurisdictions

12 November 2015

In response to the Centre’s continued advocacy, and in line with the recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s Access to Justice Arrangements Inquiry Report, free volunteer practising certificates are now available in the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales.


For this story and more see the November edition of Australian Pro Bono News.

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Senior Policy Officer position (parental leave cover role)

2 November 2015

The Centre invites suitable candidates to apply for its currently advertised position of Senior Policy Officer (0.8 FTE, 4 days a week). The opportunity is a parental leave cover role for the period January – September 2016.

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Pro bono and family violence

15 October 2015

In the latest edition of Australian Pro Bono News (Issue 103) we look at family violence, profile the work of Russell Kennedy in this area, and invite pro bono lawyers to tell us what they are doing to address unmet legal need for clients impacted by family violence.

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Mid-size firms lead pro bono growth

2 October 2015

Sixty percent of mid-size Australian law firms who are Target signatories reported more than 20% growth in the number of pro bono hours per lawyer for the 2014/2015 year, according to the Eighth Annual Performance Report on the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target, released today.

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Law Reform Hub: Supporting the Voice of Community Advocates

10 September 2015

A new collaborative pro bono project, the Law Reform Hub, is supporting the voice of community organisations engaged in policy and law reform advocacy. Henry Davis York, who have already been joined by CBP Lawyers and Lander & Rogers, is looking for new partners among law firms and community legal organisations.


For this story and more see the September edition of Australian Pro Bono News.

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Pro bono provisions strengthened by Victorian Government

10 August 2015

On 1 July 2015 Attorney-General Martin Pakula announced changes to the pro bono conditions in the new Victorian Government Legal Services Panel arrangements.


For this story and more see the August edition of Australian Pro Bono News.

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Centre launches new identity at National Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference

1 July 2015

Australian Pro Bono Centre

As announced below, the National Pro Bono Resource Centre has now officially changed its name to the Australian Pro Bono Centre. The Centre’s new name and visual identity were launched by the Centre’s Chair, Phillip Cornwell, at the Welcome Drinks to the 2015 National Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference.


For more information on the change and the Conference click here. You can also follow us on Twitter @AusPBC.

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We are now the Australian Pro Bono Centre

17 June 2015

The National Pro Bono Resource Centre announced today that it has changed its name to the Australian Pro Bono Centre.

A new website will be launched in September at Until then, please continue to visit this page ( to access information on:


  • providing pro bono assistance;
  • finding legal help; and
  • pro bono in general, including the Centre’s many publications.


read more >


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Australian Pro Bono News: Issue 105
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Annual Report 2015
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