Welcome to the May 2018 issue of AUSTRALIAN PRO BONO NEWS, the Centre’s monthly newsletter providing stories and articles of interest to the Australian pro bono community.
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For past issues, visit our newsletter Archive.
Congratulations to all those people who walked for justice on National Pro Bono Day (15 May) and to all those people who generously donated towards the work of the pro bono organisations in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. Together they raised nearly $200,000 to assist with their work. This total amount has risen every year since the event was started in Australia in 2008. Much of this money is put towards defraying the costs of disbursements associated with undertaking pro bono legal work such as interpreter’s fees and expert reports. These are vital elements of conducting matters to the full professional standard, and should not have to be paid by pro bono providers.
The Centre has written to the Law Institute of Victoria and the Law Society of New South Wales to see if we can help get the Walk for Justice going again in Victoria and New South Wales. One can see from the photos below the fun, goodwill and community-building that the event generates.
The Centre is continuing to work with mid-size and smaller firms to help them develop their pro bono practices (like Gadens, featured in this edition) and we had good attendance and positive feedback from the emerging and developing pro bono practice forums held recently in Sydney and Melbourne in partnership with Sparke Helmore. We intend to run more of these.
The next edition will report on the tenth anniversary review of the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target and provide information about the status of the pro bono conditions under the Commonwealth legal purchasing arrangements after 1 July 2018, when the Legal Services Multi-Use List ends. Our recent discussions with the Office of Legal Services Coordination indicate an ongoing commitment by the Commonwealth to requiring the reporting of pro bono performance and this being taken into account in how its legal work is allocated to law firms.