National Pro Bono Resource Centre

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Current News

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  • UK: Criminal lawyers asked to take 4% pay cut as legal aid reforms bite
    15 October 2014 read more >
    Evidence has begun to emerge of the impact of legal aid cuts on criminal law firms, with internal memos from one large business showing that lawyers are being asked to take a 4% pay cut or face losing their jobs.
    1 of 20
  • Plea for legal aid funds amid claims of a crisis in Tasmania's courts
    15 October 2014 read more >
    The Law Society has called on the Government to lift funding to the Legal Aid Commission amid what it described as a crisis in the state's courts.
    2 of 20
  • Legal Aid adjusts to cuts
    16 October 2014 read more >
    The Legal Aid Commission (ACT) says the pressures of limited resourcing must affect the numbers of people who can be assisted, and this remains a "serious concern" for the Board of Commissioners.
    3 of 20
  • Does the right to a peaceful death extend to the young and depressed? [paywall]
    14 October 2014 read more >
    "HERE it is", says Michael Tinsley, jiggling a plastic bag with enough of the suicide drug Nembutal to kill both of us should we decide on a whim to mix the white powder with water and drink our death. ... Determined to retain registration, Nitschke is preparing a defence with his pro-bono legal team while masterminding a Voluntary Euthanasia Party campaign in Victoria's November election.
    4 of 20
  • Court case to decide fate of 100 children of asylum seekers
    13 October 2014 read more >
    The question of whether 100 children who were born in Australia to asylum seeker parents can be given permanent protection will be heard in the Federal Circuit Court on Tuesday. ... Lawyers from Maurice Blackburn, who are acting on a pro bono basis, are confident they will win the case, but say Immigration Minister Scott Morrison's recently proposed changes to the Migration Act could undermine the decision.
    5 of 20
  • Salvos' lecture series attracts bench chiefs
    7 October 2014 read more >
    Five prominent judges from across Australia will speak at the upcoming Salvos Legal Lecture Series. The event will be held in Sydney on 8 November. Chief Justice James Allsop of the Federal Court of Australia will discuss Case Management and the Profession's Responsibilities. All money raised will go to fund the work of Salvos Humanitarian, which provides free legal advice to disadvantaged individuals in NSW and Queensland.
    6 of 20
  • Taking good care of yourself includes getting legal help [media release]
    6 October 2014 read more >
    Justice Connect Seniors Law has urged Victorian seniors not to be afraid to seek legal advice, even for what might seem at first like a trivial matter, during the 2014 Victorian Seniors Festival. Seniors Law offers free legal help to older Victorians who can't get legal assistance any other way, through connecting pro bono lawyers drawn from the Victorian legal community to those who need them.
    7 of 20
  • Australian Law Firms Hit Pro Bono Targets
    6 October 2014 read more >
    Australian lawyers at the top firms either met or exceeded their pro bono quotas, according to the Australian National Pro Bono Resource Centre, which involved an annual target of 35 hours per lawyer per year. The target was reached by over half of the top 20 firms. Seventeen firms are signatories to the target. Among the recent additions to the group are Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, Holding Redlich and Gadens among the more recent additions.
    8 of 20
  • SINGAPORE: Token fees for pro bono work in criminal cases
    5 October 2014 read more >
    Lawyers who do pro bono work for the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme (CLAS) will be paid an honorarium for the first time. The token fees would amount to a few hundred dollars for each case and be scaled according to several factors, such as whether the case goes to trial, said Mr Tanguy Lim, director of Pro Bono Services at the Law Society, which administers the CLAS.
    9 of 20
  • Lawyers scramble to sign up for national target to do it for free [paywall]
    3 October 2014 read more >
    The amount of free legal work provided by the nation's lawyers is booming, driven by government policies and strong growth in the number of lawyers who aim to complete 35 hours of pro bono work every year. Lawyers who have adopted this national pro bono target undertook 365,716 hours of free work last financial year - an increase of 24.2 per cent - which is the equivalent of just over 203 lawyers working full-time for a year.
    10 of 20
  • SINGAPORE: Pro bono work and legal aid to provide better access to justice: Indranee
    2 October 2014 read more >
    The Republic's model of delivering access to justice is based on key ties between the legal community, the Law Society and the Government, said Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah on Thursday (Oct 2). The best laws, however transparent and fair, will count for nothing if not much access is given to them, Ms Indranee added at the Asia Pro Bono Conference held on Thursday.
    11 of 20
  • Large law smashes pro bono target
    2 October 2014 read more >
    Over half of the 17 Australian top 20 law firms signed on to an aspirational annual target of 35 hours of pro bono work per lawyer met or exceeded it last financial year. The National Pro Bono Resource Centre released its annual performance report on the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target today. Seventeen out of the 20 largest firms in Australia are signatories to the Target, with Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, Holding Redlich and Gadens among the more recent additions.
    12 of 20
  • Lawyers acting pro bono for successful litigant can recover costs from losing party [Clayton Utz]
    2 October 2014 read more >
    A successful party in litigation who is represented on a pro bono basis can be awarded costs. A decision of the Victorian Court of Appeal has clarified the issue of whether a successful party in litigation who is represented on a pro bono basis can be awarded costs. The Court's decision in Mainieri v Cirillo [2014] VSCA 227 confirms the entitlement to such a costs award, giving much needed certainty to a previously grey issue in pro bono representation.
    13 of 20
  • Top pro bono lawyers find rewarding work
    30 September 2014 read more >
    The Pro Bono Award finalists at this year's Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards are as diverse as they are impressive... Corrs Chambers Westgarth lawyer Krista McMeeken... Kathryn Booth is a director at Maurice Blackburn... HopgoodGanim partner Freda Wigan and special counsel Lisa Lahey... A partner and the head of pro bono at Wotton + Kearney, Heidi Nash-Smith... Claire Schneider, a senior associate at Norton Rose Fulbright.
    14 of 20
  • CANADA: Pro Bono Canada to hold its first National Pro Bono Conference
    24 September 2014 read more >
    As legal aid budgets are squeezed, more members of the public are looking for pro bono services to help with their legal needs. Into that gap comes the recently formed Pro Bono Canada. The organisation, incorporated last autumn, will be having it's coming-out party at the National Pro Bono Conference in Regina this week, which will be for many lawyers their first exposure to the organization.
    15 of 20
  • UK: TrustLaw launches first course for lawyers on social enterprise
    19 September 2014 read more >
    TrustLaw - the Thomson Reuters Foundation's programme helping NGOs and social enterprises from around the world access high-quality legal support for free - has launched the TrustLaw Training on Social Enterprise and Impact Investment course. This is the first course in the UK specifically for lawyers on social enterprise and the legal issues around the sector.
    16 of 20
  • Charles Darwin Uni to help asylum seekers get legal representation in collaboration with Harvard
    25 September 2014 read more >
    Charles Darwin University (Darwin) has created a program to pair law students with firms in the Territory that wish to provide legal assistance to asylum seekers. In consultation with local practices and Ms Ardalan of Harvard University - which runs a similar program - the course has been designed to bridge the gap between students and firms while allowing practices to work for asylum seekers without charging them a fee.
    17 of 20
  • US: Big firms' pro bono work knows no borders
    21 September 2014 read more >
    It's a big world, and it takes a big firm to help people negotiate the international legal system. And for many large U.S. firms, expanding their pro bono efforts to the global community has become just another aspect of the practice. At Miles & Stockbridge P.C., international pro bono work ranges from assisting foreign citizens in the U.S. to helping Americans who find themselves in legal predicaments overseas, said Stephen J. Cullen, a principal at the firm.
    18 of 20
  • Clayton Utz win for elderly widow provides certainty around costs awards in pro bono litigation [media release]
    19 September 2014 read more >
    Clayton Utz welcomes a decision of the Victorian Court of Appeal that has clarified the issue of whether a successful party in litigation who is represented on a pro bono basis can be awarded costs. The Court's decision in Mainieri & Anor v Cirillo confirms the entitlement to such a costs award, giving much needed certainty to a previously grey issue in pro bono representation.
    19 of 20
  • US: Standing With Survivors -- POD's Pro Bono Legal Network Marks 1st Anniversary
    17 September 2014 read more >
    Jenny was on her first duty assignment with the Marine Corps when a superior raped her on ship. When Jenny reached out to Protect Our Defenders (POD), she was facing an investigation that was going nowhere, with the military claiming they could not locate her active-duty assailant. POD found Jenny an attorney to fight to protect her privacy rights and demand answers from the NCIS. Our staff is now helping her with an Inspector General complaint regarding the continued mishandling of her case.
    20 of 20

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.

read more >


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.

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Pro bono work under PI insurance scheme doubles

17 March 2014

The hours of pro bono work performed in the latest reporting period by in-house lawyers covered under the National Pro Bono PI Insurance Scheme almost doubled, from 545.6 hours in the six month period from 1 January to 30 June 2013 to 1086.2 hours in the six months to 31 December 2013.

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Nearly 10,000 lawyers now covered by Aspirational Target as King & Wood Mallesons and Gadens Sydney sign up

13 February 2014

The Centre welcomes both King & Wood Mallesons and Gadens Sydney, which joined the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target as signatories this month.  This brings the number of Australian lawyers covered by the Target to almost 10,000 lawyers.  The Scheme started in April 2007 and in its first reporting year covered about 3,000 lawyers.

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Centre develops new strategic plan for 2013-2017

28 November 2013

At its annual planning day the Centre developed a new strategic plan for the next four years. At the heart of the plan is the NPBRC as an independent centre of expertise whose principal objective is to grow the capacity of the Australian legal profession to provide pro bono legal services that are focused on increasing access to justice for socially disadvantaged and/or marginalised persons, and furthering the public interest. The full plan can be seen here (PDF).

read more >


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hot topics
National Pro Bono News: Issue 92 (October 2014)
Fourth National Law Firm Pro Bono Survey Interim Report
Seventh Annual Performance Report on the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target
Pro Bono Legal Services in Family Law and Family Violence: Understanding the Limitations and Opportunities
Pro Bono Partnerships and Models: A Practical Guide to What Works
National Pro Bono PI Insurance Scheme
Pro Bono Manual
Social Needs Directory
Social Justice Opportunities
Aspirational Target
Law Firm Directory

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