The Australian Pro Bono Centre welcomes new pro bono requirements that will apply to all law firms providing legal services to Western Australian government departments and agencies from 1 July 2020.
The new requirements are intended to enhance access to justice in Western Australia by complementing, rather than substituting, government funded legal aid and legal assistant services.
The WA Pro Bono Legal Services Model (Model) will require firms to:
be a signatory to the Centre’s National Pro Bono Target, under which firms aspire to undertake a minimum of 35 hours of “pro bono legal services” per lawyer per year; and
provide pro bono legal services to “approved causes” to the value of at least 10% of each firm’s government legal work.
The Model also sets out various reporting requirements and how conflicts of interest will be managed. Full details of the new pro bono requirements will be made available on the Centre’s website as soon as they are made publicly available by the Western Australian government.
The Centre, along with key stakeholders in the pro bono community, have strongly advocated for the inclusion of pro bono requirements in the legal services panel arrangements of governments around the country, as well as other large users of legal services such as major corporations. The Commonwealth, Victoria, NSW, South Australia and Queensland governments all now include pro bono requirements in their law firm panel arrangements.