National Pro Bono PI Insurance Policy Announced
15 May 2009
The Centre has introduced a Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme to encourage lawyers that work in corporations and government to undertake pro bono legal work. The Scheme removes one of the key constraints to pro bono - the need for in-house lawyers to have professional indemnity (“PI”) insurance to cover them for any civil claims arising from their pro bono legal work. In-house lawyers do not often hold PI insurance that covers their pro bono work.
The Policy is underwritten by LawCover and will be held and administered by the Centre. The Policy insures lawyers and paralegals who do pro bono legal work on projects approved by the Centre.
Lawyers may seek cover under the policy by completing the Application Form and submitting it to the Centre for approval. For an application to be approved it must describe a proposed project that conforms with the definition of "pro bono legal work" based on the Law Council of Australia's definition. Once approved, the Policy will provide insurance cover, subject to terms and conditions, for all lawyers and paralegals that work on that project.
The Policy is a “safety net” policy so cover will only extend to circumstances where no other PI insurance covers an approved project.
There is no application fee or charge to be paid by the applicant. The Centre has paid the policy premium and will cover the excess payable on any claim.
The responsibility for coordination of each project will rest with a supervising lawyer. This lawyer could be in a pro bono clearing house, a law firm or in-house but must be the person who completes the Application Form. Responsibility for providing legal advice and holding appropriate practising certificates will rest with the particular lawyers providing the advice.
The practising certificate regime in NSW has recently been changed to facilitate provision of pro bono legal work across all classes of practising certificate. The pro bono legal services provided through the project must still be supervised by a legal practitioner holding an unrestricted principal practising certificate.
Other States and Territories are being approached to amend their practising certificate regimes to similarly facilitate the Scheme.
For more information or to make an application, click on the links below.
National Pro Bono PI Insurance Application Form
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