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Current News

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  • Making Christmas cards count
    29 January 2015 read more >
    Instead of sending impersonal Seasons Greetings into the ether like many other law firms, Maddocks decided to do things a little differently last month. Clients who received an e-card were asked to click on a link to activate a charitable donation from Maddocks. "To evolve the traditional Christmas card... into something that has [an] impact on our communities is a really positive thing," pro bono partner Peter Francis told Lawyers Weekly. "Our clients loved being part of the process."
    1 of 20
  • Australia Day honours: Lawyer John Denton awarded AO for business and social welfare work
    26 January 2015 read more >
    Hyperactive lawyer John Denton is out of bed each day by 6am at the latest. He has to be, with all the hats he wears: governor of the Arts Centre, chairman of the Australian group for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, a board member of Teach for Australia, founding member of the Australia-China Chamber of CEO round table.
    2 of 20
  • MALAYSIA: Poor get better access to justice with legal aid foundation, says Bar president
    24 January 2015 read more >
    More poor people, including foreigners, now have better access to justice with the National Legal Aid Foundation which has so far represented arrested persons in about 75% of all remand hearings, Malaysian Bar president Christopher Leong said, compared to the lack of access to legal recourse for 80% of those facing trial for criminal cases before this.
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  • Government lawyers lift pro bono hours
    19 January 2015 read more >
    The number of pro bono hours undertaken by federal government legal service providers has increased in the past year. Time spent on pro bono work grew four per cent in 2013-2014, up to 562,647 hours in total, according to the Legal Services Expenditure Report released by the Attorney-General's Department.
    4 of 20
  • Legal Aid launches review into its family law services
    19 January 2015 read more >
    Victoria Legal Aid will overhaul its family law services to give more help to people whose first encounter with the labyrinthine legal system occurs when they go to court to get a family violence intervention order. The legal service is considering a raft of changes to try and make its support more accessible to vulnerable people. People who go to the Magistrates Court to apply for family violence intervention orders could be linked with help to solve their other family law problems. For the first time since 1974 the service has launched a comprehensive review, responding in part to the huge increase in people appearing in court on family violence matters.
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  • BANGLADESH: Strengthening pro bono legal services
    14 January 2015 read more >
    A system of pro bono lawyering, as is traditionally prevalent in other jurisdictions, in the form of a separate pro bono practice and specific lawyers designated to conduct such cases, within law firms does not exist in Bangladesh. However, there exists a wide culture of providing legal services free of cost, informally.
    6 of 20
  • US: Activism and Advocacy 'Sans Frontieres': Mobilizing Lawyers to Champion Development and the Rule of Law (World Bank)
    12 January 2015 read more >
    The challenge of global development is so vast, and the need to deliver high-impact services is so urgent, that the drive to create a social movement to build shared prosperity must enlist people with every type of skill - marshalling all of the many kinds of expertise that drive the private sector as well as the public, academic, social and philanthropic realms.
    7 of 20
  • Justice Gap Growing - Productivity Commission Report
    6 January 2015 read more >
    More than $200 million a year is needed to narrow Australia's growing justice gap for people facing disadvantage, the Productivity Commission has said in its final Access to Justice Arrangements report. Released recently, the report supports calls by welfare peak body VCOSS, community legal centres and the legal assistance sector for more resources to meet the legal needs of Australians facing disadvantage.
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  • US: New Rules Clarify Requirements for Pro Bono Exemptions
    5 January 2015 read more >
    Rule changes aimed at helping New Jersey lawyers fulfill their annual pro bono obligations kicked in at the start of the new year. The changes were proposed in 2012 by the New Jersey State Bar Association's Pro Bono Task Force and adopted by the state Supreme Court last July, but had a delayed effective date of Jan. 1. New Jersey has a unique system of mandatory court-appointed pro bono service, but lawyers can claim an exemption from it by doing at least 25 hours of pro bono work for a qualifying organization in the preceding year. It is known as Exemption 88.
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  • US: Pro Bono Hot List
    5 January 2015 read more >
    As law firms continue to expand their services globally, so too have their pro bono programs, with lawyers volunteering in 2014 to help with immigration matters, natural disaster relief and human trafficking cases. Last year also brought plenty of pro bono opportunities stateside. Attorneys devoted their time to gun control cases, voter identification laws, free speech issues, abortion rights and same-sex marriage cases.
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  • Cuts to Commonwealth criminal legal aid funding 'a risk to national security'
    27 December 2014 read more >
    Australia's national security could be put at risk by a shortfall in Commonwealth legal aid funding for cases involving serious federal crimes, including terrorism-related offences, the NSW bar has warned. The Commonwealth and the states jointly fund Legal Aid NSW and its counterparts around the country to provide free legal help to the most disadvantaged people in criminal and other legal disputes.
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  • SINGAPORE: More lawyers buy into spirit of giving
    24 December 2015 read more >
    'Tis the season of giving and more lawyers here have been volunteering their time as the concept of pro bono work gains traction in Singapore. While figures for this year are not yet available, a total of 66,743 hours were volunteered by lawyers last year, translating to an average of 15 pro bono hours a lawyer across Singapore. That is higher than the 53,766 pro bono hours logged in 2012, or 13 pro bono hours a lawyer.
    12 of 20
  • Legal aid restricted as Commonwealth funding dries up
    23 December 2015 read more >
    Legal bodies have urged the Abbott government to boost its contribution to legal aid funding or risk important trials being delayed or even aborted. The Law Council of Australia, Australian Bar Association and NSW Bar Association have warned that trials will be compromised unless the federal government provides urgent funding to the Expensive Commonwealth Criminal Cases Fund.
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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.
    16 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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