The following are submissions made by the Australian Pro Bono Centre (formerly the National Pro Bono Resource Centre) to government and other bodies in relation to pro bono legal work.
For other publications by the Centre, see Pro Bono Resources.
Submissions (in chronological order)
Submission to Joint Select Committee on the Voice to Parliament Bill
- April 2023 (PDF)
The Centre’s submission supports the proposed alterations to the Constitution to include ‘Chapter IX—Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ and its section 129 ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice’.
Submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs Inquiry into a Better Family Law System to Support and Protect those Affected by Family Violence
- May 2017 (536KB)
The Centre’s submission to the Inquiry into a better family law system to support and protect those affected by family violence focused on the capacity of pro bono legal culture and services in Australia to support and protect people affected by family violence, and how these services can be strengthened in order to provide access to justice for those individuals. The Centre’s submission draws on its own research in its report, Pro Bono Legal Services in Family Law and Family Violence: Understanding the Limitations and Opportunities (October 2013).
Submission to the Victorian Department of Justice and Regulation Access to Justice Review
- April 2016 (344KB)
Submission to the Victorian Department of Justice and Regulation regarding its Access to Justice Review, focusing on ways of enhancing pro bono legal services in Victoria.
Submission to the Secretary’s Review of Commonwealth Legal Services
- December 2015 (1.2MB)
The Centre has provided a submission to the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department regarding the Secretary’s Review of Commonwealth Legal Services Issues Paper 1.
Submission to the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee on the Regional Telecommunications Review 2015 Issues Paper
- July 2015 (740KB)
The Centre has provided a brief submission to the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee regarding the Regional Telecommunications Review 2015 Issues Paper. The Centre’s response is primarily drawn from research conducted for the two conference papers that it has delivered on the use of video conferencing technology in the delivery of pro bono legal services.
Submission to the Law Council of Australia on the Continuing Professional Development Rules of the proposed Legal Profession Uniform Law
- March 2015 (PDF 462KB)
The Centre provided a submission on the proposed Continuing Professional Development Rules (Solicitors) 2014 to be made pursuant to the Legal Profession Uniform Law. This submission was supplementary to the Centre’s previous submission to the Legal Services Council on the Consultation Draft of the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules (January 2015 – see below).
Submission to Victoria Legal Aid on the Family Law Legal Aid Services Review Consultation and Options Paper
- February 2015 (PDF 166KB)
The Centre has provided a brief submission on Victoria Legal Aid’s Family Law Legal Aid Services Review Consultation and Options Paper. The Centre’s response is primarily drawn from research conducted for its report Pro Bono Legal Services in Family Law and Family Violence: Understanding the Limitations and Opportunities (October 2013).
Submission to the Legal Services Council on the Consultation Draft of the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules
- January 2015 (PDF 597KB)
The Centre was invited by the Legal Services Council to provide comments and submissions in relation to the consultation drafts of the proposed Uniform Rules to be made under the Legal Profession Uniform Law. The Centre’s submission in relation to the Legal Profession Uniform General Rules 2014 focuses on removing barriers to pro bono legal work. The submission is endorsed in full by DLA Piper Australia.
Submission to the Productivity Commission on Access to Justice Arrangements (second)
- May 2014 (PDF 602KB)
The Centre has provided a second submission to the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry in to Access to Justice Arrangements, in response to the recommendations and requests for information in the Productivity Commission’s Draft Report.
Submission to the Productivity Commission on Access to Justice Arrangements (first)
- November 2013 (PDF 376KB)
The Centre has provided a submission to the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry in to Access to Justice Arrangements. The Centre’s submission focuses on the role of pro bono legal work in providing access to justice, the cost of accessing civil justice and improving the accessibility of courts.
Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry into the impact of Federal Court fee increases since 2010 on access to justice in Australia
- April 2013 (PDF 376KB)
The Centre was invited to submit to this inquiry and argues the case for adding a further exempt fee category to the current Federal Court rules for “those that are being acted for on a pro bono basis”.
Follow-up submission to the NSW Law Reform Commission on Consultation Paper 13: Inquiry into Security for Costs and Associated Orders
- September 2012 (PDF 421KB)
This is a submission provided to the NSW Law Reform Commission in response to an email requesting further information on a number of issues raised in the Centre’s 2011 submission (see below).
Submission to the NSW Law Reform Commission on Consultation Paper 13: Inquiry into Security for Costs and Associated Orders
- August 2011 (PDF 265KB)
This submission in response to Consultation Paper 13 identifies the key issues in the current legislative framework pertaining to costs orders in public interest and pro bono matters, and makes recommendations for legislative change. It refers to the preliminary submission made by the Centre in February 2010 (see below).
Submission to Treasury on the Scoping Study for a National Not-For-Profit Regulator
- February 2011 (PDF 128KB)
This submission supports reforms to simplify the regulation of not-for-profit organisations (NFP), on the basis that it would free up significant pro bono legal assistance resources which are currently directed towards assisting NFPs with matters such as their applications for deductible gift recipient status. The Centre submits that these resources could be redirected to address other unmet legal needs.
Submission to the National Legal Profession Reform Taskforce
- August 2010 (PDF 572KB)
The Centre’s third submission to the Taskforce relates to the Legal Profession National Law 14 May 2010 Consultation Draft and how it has addressed concerns we have raised regarding structural barriers that exist in relation to facilitating Australian legal practitioners to undertake pro bono legal work.
Preliminary Submission to the NSW Law Reform Commission on Security for Costs and Associated Orders
- February 2010 (PDF 215KB)
This preliminary submission identifies the key issues in the current legislative framework pertaining to costs orders in public interest and pro bono matters, and makes recommendations for legislative change.
Submission to the Task Force on the National Legal Profession Project
- October 2009 (PDF 214KB)
This joint submission on the proposed national reform of the legal profession identifies the key legislative and regulatory barriers faced by Australian legal practitioners wanting to undertake pro bono legal work, particularly in relation to the availability and cost of practising certificates, and professional indemnity insurance. Joint submission with Australian Corporate Lawyers Association, DLA Phillips Fox, Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House, Public Interest Law Clearing House (Vic) and JusticeNet SA.
Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Inquiry into Access to Justice
- April 2009 (PDF 223KB)
This submission addresses the ability of people to access legal representation, the adequacy of legal aid, the cost of delivering justice, the adequacy of funding and resource arrangements for community legal centres, and the ability of Indigenous people to access justice. It discusses the amount of pro bono work that is undertaken, outlines some of the ways in which pro bono provides individuals with access to justice, and points to some of the gaps and limitations in the provision of pro bono services.
Submission to Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs on the Commonwealth’s Green Paper "Which Way Home" A new approach to homelessness
- 16 June 2008 (PDF 227KB)
This submission provides an overview of the remarkable work done by private lawyers in Homeless Persons Legal Clinics across four states of Australia and makes recommendations for supporting and expanding these activities.
Submission to the Victorian Legal Services Board on the Notice of Proposed Legal Profession Rules
- 16 January 2008 (PDF 68KB)
The submission addresses the changes to the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Rules proposed by the Law Institute of Victoria and the Victorian Bar. The submission proposes that the definition of ‘CPD activity’ contained in the CPD rules should be broadened to include pro bono legal work. It further submits that any legal practitioner who undertakes at least two hours of pro bono legal work per year should be able to claim one CPD unit for this activity.
Submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services on Corporate Social Responsibility and Pro Bono
- September 2005 (PDF 230KB)
The submission discusses pro bono and other voluntary contributions that the legal profession currently makes.
Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee on the Migration Litigation Reform Bill 2005
- April 2005 (PDF 294KB)
The Centre was invited to make submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee into the Migration Litigation Reform Bill 2005.The submission emphasises that the proposed reforms have a real potential to act as a strong deterrent for members of the legal profession to undertake pro bono work in this difficult area of law.
Submission to the Joint Commonwealth/State Review of the NSW Community Legal Service Funding Program
- December 2004 (PDF 230KB)
The Centre submitted that there is a need for greater coordination between CLCs and pro bono service providers, and to raise awareness of the opportunities that exist to work together.
Submission to the LIV Government Lawyers Committee on Government Lawyers
- May 2004 (PDF 124KB)
This submission to the Government Lawyers Committee of the Law Institute of Victoria suggests that developing and supporting pro bono work by government lawyers and agencies should be part of the role and functions of the Committee.
Submission to the Federal Attorney-General’s Department on Civil Justice Strategy
- April 2004 (PDF 292KB)
This submission comments on a number of the recommendations in the Strategy Paper and makes suggestions for additional action by government in a range of pro bono related areas.
Submission to the Federal Attorney-General’s Department on the Commonwealth Legal Services Directions
- April 2004 (PDF 100KB)
This submission recommends the Directions be amended to incorporate all aspects of the Protocol developed by the Centre to deal with the problem of perceived commercial conflict of interest deterring lawyers from taking on pro bono work against the government.
Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee on Legal Aid and Access to Justice
- October 2003 (PDF 192KB)
The Centre made a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional References Committee’s Inquiry into Legal Aid and Access to Justice. It comments on the importance of pro bono service delivery as a mechanism for facilitating access to justice for low income and disadvantaged people. The Terms of Reference and other Submissions to the Inquiry can be found here.
Submission to the Federal Court of Australia on proposed Federal Court Rule change
- April 2003 (PDF 116KB)
At the request of the Federal Court, the Centre has commented on a proposed rule change. The possible rule is designed to ensure that the Court knows the identity of a legal practitioner who has prepared a document used in Court proceedings by an otherwise unrepresented litigant.