Issue 56: December 2009
Welcome to the December 2009 edition of the e-Newsletter of the National Pro Bono Resource Centre (the Centre). We welcome your feedback/contributions/ideas. In this edition, read about:
Senate Access to Justice Report commends private lawyers
The Report of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee on Access to Justice was released on 8 December 2009. The Committee commended those members of the private legal profession who undertake pro bono legal work, accepted that the legal aid system is not adequately funded and recommends a review of existing funding arrangements and service delivery levels including an increase in funding for legal aid service providers particularly in RRR areas.
The Committee recommends that state/territory governments and legal professional associations throughout Australia should take such steps as are necessary to support pro bono development including promoting the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target Scheme.
The Centre was unfortunately misquoted in the report as suggesting that all classes of practising certificate should have a mandatory pro bono legal requirement. The Centre did not say this and does not support this recommendation. The Committee has published the Centre’s letter to this effect on its website.
The Committee also recommended that the Australian Government investigate means by which small to medium size firms could be encouraged to further participate in the provision of pro bono legal services.
The full report can be accessed here.
National Pro Bono Day and the Walk for Justice to be held on Monday 17 May 2010
Monday 17 May 2010 will be National Pro Bono Day, the first day of National Law Week 2010.
The centrepiece of this day will be the Walk for Justice (“WALK”) now in its third year is confirmed to take place in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide (so far). The WALK is a 3-5 km walk past key city legal landmarks which aims to raise awareness of unmet legal need in the community and raise funds to support the work of the pro bono clearing houses in each State and Territory.
It is an initiative of the Public Interest Law Clearing Houses of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland and the National Pro Bono Resource Centre. As before registration occurs through each state based pro bono clearing house.
National Pro Bono Day 2010 will celebrate the outstanding pro bono commitment of the legal profession in ensuring access to justice for marginalised and disadvantaged Australians. Members of the profession are encouraged to mark this day by walking for justice and developing other activities to celebrate the profession’s pro bono contribution
3rd National Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference to be held in Brisbane on 27/28 August 2010
The theme for this year’s conference is “Access to Justice at the Crossroads – Where to Now?” This important biennial conference brings together lawyers, policy makers, academics and law students from firms, the bar, professional associations, legal aid, community legal centres, government, universities and pro bono clearing houses to discuss how to advance access to justice and the role of pro bono legal services.Key issues to be discussed will include the case for funding the legal assistance sector, identification of gaps in legal need, and improving coordination across the sector.
Research on Aboriginal Legal Need in NSW now available
Professor Chris Cunneen from the UNSW gave a presentation on research he did for the Legal Aid Commission NSW into the Family and Civil Law Needs of Aboriginal People in NSW. The report is available online from the Legal Aid NSW website.
The report provides an analysis of the civil and family law needs of Aboriginal people in NSW and explores how Legal Aid NSW might improve the services that they provide to Aboriginal clients in the areas of civil and family law.
In the News – December 2009
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UK and US stories