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Current News

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  • Legal aid restored for family violence victims
    1 September 2014 read more >
    Victoria Legal Aid will restore free legal help for family violence victims in child custody battles, reversing cuts that left some to face their attackers in court alone. The organisation stopped funding legal assistance for people in the Family Court if they were against a person who was also without a lawyer last year, amid drastic cuts to its services to save money.
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  • Two million NSW residents get free legal help [media release]
    1 September 2014 read more >
    The State Government's free legal information service LawAccess NSW has reached a new milestone answering two million calls since it began operating in September 2001. Attorney General Brad Hazzard said LawAccess assisted a record 205,613 callers in 2013/14 - an increase of almost 5% on the previous year.
    2 of 20
  • UK: Law centres: Picking up the pieces
    1 September 2014 read more >
    Dealt a huge blow by cuts in funding, law centres are reinventing themselves to survive. Last year's double-whammy of civil legal aid cuts and curtailed local authority funding has had a dramatic effect on the work of law centres. But thanks to a spirit of innovation and sheer doggedness, dire predictions that the changes would annihilate many centres have so far not materialised.
    3 of 20
  • Asylum seekers get big law backing
    29 August 2014 read more >
    The head of Maurice Blackburn's social justice practice has claimed the firm's recently-filed class action is the most effective means of seeking redress for any injured asylum seekers on Christmas Island. Full-time pro bono lawyer and practice leader Elizabeth O'Shea told Lawyers Weekly that while Maurice Blackburn has a long history of advocating for asylum seekers on an individual basis, it's class action that could better serve the dozens of alleged victims of abuse or neglect while in detention.
    4 of 20
  • SINGAPORE: Law Society launches $2m Justice for All project
    29 August 2014 read more >
    The Law Society yesterday launched a $2 million project to increase public access to legal aid. The plans include expanding the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme to benefit 6,000 a year, instead of the current 400, and new mobile legal clinics to reach out to sex workers.The funds for this Justice for All project will be raised from the legal sector and the community, beginning with a charity walkathon next year.
    5 of 20
  • CANADA: Denied legal aid in Alberta? There's now a toll-free number to help you get it
    29 August 2014 read more >
    Groups representing defence lawyers in Calgary and Edmonton said they expect hundreds of low-income Albertans denied legal aid coverage will begin deluging the courts with applications seeking financial relief. The Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyers' Association and its sister organization in Edmonton announced Thursday they've set up a toll-free phone line to help people who have been denied legal aid successfully petition the court for coverage.
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  • SINGAPORE: Law Society aims to dispense legal aid to 6,000 yearly
    28 August 2014 read more >
    The Law Society on Thursday announced it will enhance its Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, which would increase the amount of assistance it could provide to those needing legal help... the Law Society launched its "Justice for All" project to make legal knowledge more accessible in Singapore... it aims to extend legal assistance to about 6,000 qualifying individuals annually - an increase from the current 400.
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  • CANADA: Legal-aid lawyers take action over funding
    28 August 2014 read more >
    Alberta's legal-aid lawyers are threatening to clog the courts with applications from people denied coverage to draw attention to what the lawyers say is a severely underfunded system. Ian Savage, president of the Criminal Defence Lawyers Association in Calgary, says the government has raised the bar so high that people living on income support or with major disabilities can't get a legal-aid lawyer.
    8 of 20
  • CHINA: Hong Kong Lawyers to Offer Pro Bono Aid to Pro-Democracy Protesters
    28 August 2014 read more >
    Dozens of Hong Kong lawyers are lining up to offer pro bono assistance to pro-democracy protesters, in a move that highlights the legal community's growing concern over potential infringement on the city's judicial independence by Beijing.
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  • In pro bono, size should not matter
    20 August 2014 read more >
    DLA Piper's Nicolas Patrick told guests at the Lawyers Weekly Law Awards that Aboriginal people still face discriminatory laws and mid-tier firms need to be more involved in pro bono. "I was described by one of the trainees in the London office this week as the woofy, poofy, hippy lefty pro bono partner, and consistent with that, I am going to start off by acknowledging the traditional owners of this land, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation."
    10 of 20
  • Passion for human rights pays off
    19 August 2014 read more >
    A passion for pro bono work and human rights bore fruit for King & Wood Mallesons' Liam Burgess, who walked away with this year's Pro Bono Award, proudly sponsored by Negocio Resolutions. Burgess thanked his firm and his colleagues when he accepted the award at this year's Lawyers Weekly Law Awards... "I would like to thank King & Wood Mallesons for their generosity in providing the resources and sometimes the courage to make this kind of work possible, and to all the other firms here that do these same sorts of things," he said.
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  • Leap of faith pays off
    15 August 2014 read more >
    Salvos Legal has been lauded for its innovative firm model that engenders a spirit of collaboration and a sense of social justice among its lawyers. The four-year-old firm won the coveted Law Firm of the Year Award, proudly sponsored by CTPartners, in the face of tough competition from global firms Herbert Smith Freehills and Squire Patton Boggs, and national firms Gilbert + Tobin, Hall & Wilcox and Maurice Blackburn.
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  • US: Lawyers urged to rise above US politics
    15 August 2014 read more >
    The US Chief Justice John Roberts has asked the USA's lawyers to 'rise above particular partisan debates' and help the population maintain faith in the legal system... 'Lawyers fulfill their professional calling to its fullest extent when they rise above particular partisan debates and participate as problem solvers, whether through the ABA's committees, through pro bono work, through public service or simply by helping the public understand the nature of the role that courts play in civil life, a role distinct from that of the political branches.'
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  • Legal stars shine light on what is possible
    11 August 2014 read more >
    Two pro bono pioneers [Salvos Legal and Nicolas Patrick] and one of the most important figures in Australia's international arbitration movement were among those honoured at this year's Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Awards... King & Wood Mallesons also won two awards: The Senior Associate Award and The Pro Bono Award, proudly sponsored by Negocio Resolutions.
    14 of 20
  • Legal advocates help make community policing fair
    11 August 2014 read more >
    A group of young legal professionals has seen how strategic litigation together with public interest advocacy and law reform work can improve the lives of local communities, through participation in a project with the Flemington & Kensington Community Legal Centre. The Police Accountability Project is an innovative public interest initiative which has an educational web portal, the first resource in Victoria that deals with police accountability law.
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  • NIGERIA: Legal Aid Council to enforce pro bono service as basis for appointment of SAN
    10 August 2014 read more >
    It will no longer be possible for any lawyer who has not successfully prosecuted cases for poor and indigent citizens on pro bono (or free of charge) to be confirmed as Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). This is the new position the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (LACON) is planning to insert as part of a major reform of the Nigerian justice and judicial sector in a planned amendment of the Legal Aid Act of 2011.
    16 of 20
  • George Brandis under pressure as report points to inadequate funding for legal services [paywall]
    8 August 2014 read more >
    Attorney-General George Brandis is under pressure to inject more money into legal aid and community legal centres and index future funding to ensure it keeps pace with demand, following the release of a major report on the sector. The report, by Allen Consulting, finds that funding for legal assistance services is inadequate to meet the government's own objectives and any efficiencies to be found would not be enough to cover the funding shortfall.
    17 of 20
  • Salvos Legal goes corporate
    7 August 2014 read more >
    Salvos Legal has poached a senior in-house lawyer to head its first commercially-focused office. Salvos Legal opened an office in Newcastle on Monday. Former CBRE senior lawyer Jeranne Kosviner will head the office and, initially, she will be the only permanent lawyer on the ground."I am not at all daunted," Kosviner told Lawyers Weekly. "I am really looking forward to starting the practice up there and really building something."
    18 of 20
  • US: White House implores allies to provide pro bono legal services to illegal immigrant children
    7 August 2014 read more >
    The White House pressured its allies to provide pro bono legal aid to unaccompanied minors today. With Congress out of session and legislation to provide emergency funding to immigration agencies stalled, the White House is leaning on immigration advocates to help provide legal services to immigrant children going through deportation proceedings.
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  • US: Biden makes plea to U.S. lawyers for pro bono help on migrant crisis
    6 August 2014 read more >
    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden made an impassioned plea to U.S. law firms on Wednesday to free up attorneys to help deal with the surge of Central American children who have entered the country illegally by providing more pro bono representation. At the end of a meeting with about 60 people - some from white-collar law firms, others from nonprofit organizations who work with immigrants - Biden urged lawyers to step up and help deal with a backlog of court cases for tens of thousands of children from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
    20 of 20

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.

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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).

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Sixth Annual National Pro Bono Aspirational Target Report released

9 October 2013

According to the Sixth Annual National Pro Bono Aspirational Target Performance Report, an average of 33.7 hours of pro bono legal work per lawyer was done in the last financial year by signatories to the Target compared to the 34.2 hours per lawyer reported in 2011/2012. Collectively, the reporting signatories provided 294,329 hours of pro bono legal work in 2012/2013 which is over 70,000 more hours than it was two years ago.


The Report found that the pro bono performance of signatories improved the longer they had been signatories. Law firms that had been signatories for at least three years averaged 42.7 pro bono hours per lawyer, compared with those firms that had been signatories for at least one year that averaged 35.9 hours per lawyer and the average of all reporting signatory firms (33.6 hours per lawyer).

read more >


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hot topics
National Pro Bono News: Issue 91 (August 2014)
The Use of Video Conferencing Technology to Provide Pro Bono Assistance to Self-Represented Litigants in RRR Australia
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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