Below you can find 24 articles of interest to the pro bono community that have been published since our last edition (Issue 106, February 2015). Click through to read any news article in full.
You can also follow the latest news in pro bono from Australia and around the world by following the Centre on Twitter: @AusPBC
- Smaller firms can punch above their weight in pro bono
14/03/2016 – Lawyers Weekly
Size should not hold firms back from building a strong pro bono practice, according to the CSR and pro bono coordinator at Wotton + Kearney, partner Heidi Nash-Smith. Ms Nash-Smith believes that boutiques can “absolutely” direct a lot of attention towards pro bono, even if lacking the resources to run entire programs. Smaller firms can access support from the pro bono legal community, including from other firms and the Australian Pro Bono Centre.
- Company seeks ‘amicable’ resolution to animal sanctuary dispute, but no compromise on eviction
7/03/2016 – ABC News
The company that issued an eviction notice to a couple in far west New South Wales who set up a makeshift animal sanctuary says it wants to resolve the issue amicably … “We certainly do believe that the groundswell of local community support and media coverage has caused both Rural Harvest Holdings and WaterNSW to rethink their approach,” solicitor Mat Henderson, who is assisting the couple pro bono, said.
- Partner of the Year Awards finalists revealed
7/03/2016 – Lawyers Weekly
The finalists for the inaugural Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year Awards have been announced. The Pro Bono finalists are: Brooke Massender, Herbert Smith Freehills; Heather Watson, McCullough Robertson; Heidi Nash-Smith, Wotton + Kearney; Kathryn Booth, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers; Michael Anglin, Salvos Legal Humanitarian; Rebecca Gilsenan, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers
- NT Government moves remote housing funding rules goalposts as Indigenous anger bubbles up
7/03/2016 – ABC News
As the Federal Government’s major funding program for NT Indigenous housing comes to an end, Aboriginal communities are becoming more desperate to improve their living conditions. … Many communities are considering following Santa Teresa’s lead, enlisting legal help to sue the Territory Government for basic repairs. Daniel Kelly, a Melbourne lawyer, is one of a number of legal representatives who have formed the group Australian Lawyers for Remote Aboriginal Rights, and are offering pro bono legal support.
- Our Information Hub has gone national! [media release]
3/03/2016 – Justice Connect
Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law service is excited to announce that our acclaimed Information Hub is now available to charities and not-for-profits across Australia. As of 29 February, the services we have been providing in Victoria and NSW are being rolled out across the rest of the nation’s jurisdictions.
- Love me tender, and pro bono
3/03/2016 – Lawyers Weekly
Firms wanting to win tenders from major clients increasingly need to demonstrate their pro bono credentials … In days gone by, it was sufficient to volunteer that you perform pro bono work. There was never any need to prove it. Now firms must be signatories to the [National Pro Bono] Aspirational Target in order to be pre-qualified for the Legal Services Multi Use List (LSMUL).
- Creating change through environmental law
2/03/2016 – UQ News
Two University of Queensland law students have been putting their skills to the test in the Malaysian state of Sabah, in Borneo, through a summer vacation internship with Forever Sabah, an organisation that supports Sabah’s transition to a diversified and equitable economy. Forever Sabah hopes to develop the partnership with the TC Beirne School of Law into an accredited legal clinic.
- Morcombe lawyer recognised for 9 years of pro bono
2/03/2016 – Lawyers Weekly
Solicitor Peter Boyce OAM, who helped secure the conviction of Queensland teenager Daniel Morcombe’s killer, has been lauded for his fee-free work on the almost decade-long case. The Queensland Law Society awarded Mr Boyce OAM was awarded the prestigious President’s Medal at the annual Legal Profession Dinner in February.
- Bringing Pro Bono Culture to the Engineering Profession
1/03/2016 – Sourceable
A new venture launched by Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Australia seeks to bring the pro bono culture that has long flourished within the legal profession to Australia’s engineering and construction sectors. Lizzie Brown, EWB Connect’s lead, said that while members of the engineering profession are eager to engage in pro bono, up until now the industry has lacked established mechanisms or a general culture to foster such undertakings.
- Paws for thought as lawyer enters dog house
25/02/2016 – Australasian Lawyer
As part of ‘In the Dog House’, an initiative run by the RSPCA, Mills Oakley Canberra partner Vince Sharma will be taking up residence in a dog kennel next month. “I’ve worked with the RSPCA, both on a formal and on a pro bono basis for over 15 years,” Sharma said.
- Victorian firm promotes child safety
22/02/2016 – Lawyers Weekly
The Child Protection Toolkit – Launched by Moores Law and Our Community – explains the changes to Victorian child protection legislation and sets out practical advice to help organisations across Australia meet their compliance obligations and ensure their environment is a safe place for children.
- Anger over Northern Territory Aboriginal living conditions sparks legal action, inquiry call
11/02/2016 – ABC News
Three-quarters of households in the remote Indigenous community of Santa Teresa, about 80 kilometres from Alice Springs, have launched legal action against the Territory Government. The residents claim that long-overdue repairs and maintenance have not been carried out on their housing. Australian Lawyers for Remote Aboriginal Rights have taken unprecedented legal action on behalf of the tenants against the Territory Government.
- UK: Childrens pro bono legal service
21/03/2016 – The Law Society
A pro bono collaboration between Allen & Overy, Coram Children’s Legal Centre (CCLC) and DLA Piper – the Children’s Pro Bono Legal Service – gives free legal representation to hundreds of children without legal support to access their rights to become British citizens. As opposed to many other pro bono clinics in the UK, the service offers end-to-end representation, in an area of significant need that is not covered by Legal Aid.
- US: IRS Offers Guidance on Recovery of Litigation Costs
10/03/2016 – Accounting Today
The Internal Revenue Service has issued guidance on the tax treatment of litigation costs and attorney fees, particularly when there is pro bono representation. Revenue Procedure 2016-17 provides guidance regarding the recovery of administrative and litigation costs by individuals and organizations that provide pro bono representation to taxpayers.
- SINGAPORE: Criminal Legal Aid Scheme helping more accused people
29/02/2016 – The Straits Times
More accused people who cannot afford lawyers are receiving help after the Government stepped in to fund a legal aid programme, with over 2,400 clients assisted last year. This year, the Law Society hopes to expand coverage for more offences under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme (Clas), which is run by the society’s Pro Bono Services Office.
- TANZANIA: Tanzania in dire need of 2,981 primary courts
29/02/2016 – The Daily News
The Tanganyika Law Society is working towards updating the database of advocates willing to take up pro bono. This is the pool of enrolled and practising advocates willing to volunteer to take up cases of indigent Tanzanian residents unable to afford to pay advocates’ fee.
- SINGAPORE: Becoming a better person and lawyer
29/02/2016 – The Straits Times
Singapore lawyer, Ms Kang Zhi Ni explains her attitude to pro bono work, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way. It’s all about time management,” she said. “Volunteering opened my eyes so I could see the faces of people who are truly in need. It humbles me and makes me a better person and, of course, a better lawyer.”
- UK: Lawyers ‘increasingly asked to work for free to help those cast adrift by state’
29/02/2016 – BT.com
More and more barristers are being called on to work for free because people embroiled in family court litigation have been “cast adrift” by an “uncaring state”. Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division of the High Court and the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, has told barristers that times of austerity are bringing increasing numbers of litigants in person into family courts.
- IRELAND: All society is damaged when some can’t access legal system
25/02/2016 – Irish Examiner
FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) Ireland’s report, ‘Accessing Justice in Hard Times’ shows that the inadequacies of our state-funded legal system, already constrained by low budgets and a somewhat narrow mandate, were intensified during the recession; with pressure increasing on FLAC volunteers and other community legal services.
- NZ: Lawyers make important community contribution, says NZLS President [media release]
25/02/2016 – New Zealand Law Society
The legal profession makes an important contribution in New Zealand’s communities and the voluntary sector, says New Zealand Law Society President Chris Moore … “I know that the vast majority of lawyers are people who want to participate and give something back to the community. This shows through lawyers’ involvement in initiatives and organisations across New Zealand.”