Issue 127: April 2018
1,375 hours of pro bono performed under the Centre’s PI scheme
In the second half of 2017, the National Professional Indemnity (PI) Insurance Scheme (the Scheme) insured 108 corporate, government and career-break lawyers to do pro bono legal work. Under the Scheme, between 1 July – 31 December 2017, these lawyers together with 8 paralegals were involved in 72 projects and completed 1,375 pro bono hours.
The Centre established the Scheme in 2009 to encourage in-house, corporate, government and career-break lawyers to undertake pro bono legal work. The Scheme removes one of the key barriers for lawyers who wish to engage in pro bono legal work – the requirement for professional indemnity insurance.
The majority of pro bono projects insured under the Scheme were performed by in-house corporate lawyers, followed by in-house government lawyers and volunteer lawyers. A Register of pro bono projects currently insured under the Scheme can be viewed here.
A special mention goes to the Multicultural Services Centre of Western Australia and its subsidiary the Multicultural Legal Centre, whose lawyers performed 460 pro bono hours in this period. The Multicultural Legal Centre provides support to individuals who face language and financial barriers in accessing legal services and support.
Mr Leo Gatica-Lara, Principal Solicitor of the Multicultural Legal Centre, said “the Scheme is fundamentally needed because there are so many people of non-English speaking backgrounds that experience disadvantage: they don’t know the legal system, they speak a different language and they are on very low income. They experience disadvantage in every area. The Multicultural Legal Centre aims to provide culturally and linguistically diverse communities access to the justice system.”
The Scheme insured the pro bono work of two solicitors, who performed 20 hours of pro bono legal work per week over the period. Since joining the Scheme in March 2017, they have performed a remarkable 640 hours of pro bono legal work. Thanks to the work of these dedicated solicitors, members of Perth’s multicultural communities are better able to access the legal assistance needed to navigate their legal matters.
The Centre would like to thank all the lawyers and paralegals under the Scheme for their significant pro bono efforts.
The Scheme is currently available to lawyers and paralegals in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, and the Centre continues to advocate for the expansion of the Scheme to other jurisdictions.
If you are interested in applying for coverage for a potential Pro Bono Project, please see the National Pro Bono PI Insurance Scheme page on our website. A full list of the Pro Bono Projects currently insured under the Scheme is available on the PI Scheme Register.
STORIES IN THIS ISSUE:
AUSTRALIAN PRO BONO NEWS