A number of jurisdictions have developed protocols and statements of principle in relation to pro bono legal work that have supported its development.
Some of these are linked below
- (1983) – American Bar Association Rule 6.1 Voluntary Pro Bono Publico Service (contains an aspirational target of at least 50 hours per lawyer)
- (1993) – US Pro Bono Institute Law Firm Challenge.
The Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge is a global aspirational pro bono standard. Developed by law firm leaders and corporate general counsel, the Challenge articulates a single, unitary standard for one key segment of the legal profession – the world’s largest law firms. Major law firms that become signatories to the Challenge acknowledge their institutional, firm-wide commitment to provide pro bono legal services to low income and disadvantaged individuals and families and non-profit groups.
- (2006) – American Bar Association Pro Bono Resolution
At the 2006 Annual Meeting, the ABA House of Delegates adopted a resolution which, in part, urges government attorneys to serve their communities through pro bono and public service activities consistent with applicable rules of professional conduct. The resolution encourages government agencies to adopt written pro bono policies and procedures that include a definition of pro bono, sets forth case approval and conflicts checking procedures and addresses use of office resources. Other suggestions include designating a pro bono coordinator or committee, identifying and addressing any regulatory impediments to pro bono participation, and development of recognition programs.
- (2006) – UK Pro Bono Protocol
The Joint UK Protocol for Pro Bono Legal Work was developed jointly by the Bar Pro Bono Unit and Law Works. The Protocol ‘sets out core values of pro bono legal work to assist both those who undertake it and their clients’. The protocol was officially launched and signed by major UK pro bono providers and supporters including the Bar Council, the Bar Pro Bono Unit, sets of Chambers, law firms and law schools.
- (2007) – Australian Statement of Principles
Developed by the Centre in consultation with the Australian pro bono sector, it contains the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target of at least 35 hours per lawyer per year.
- (2008) – Pro Bono Declaration for the Americas
Prepared by the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice at the New York Bar, it contains an aspirational target of at least 20 hours per lawyer within three years.
- (2008) – UK Attorney General’s Pro Bono Declaration: A statement of principles for International Pro Bono Legal Work
This declaration of the UK Attorney General in March 2009 sets out ‘core principles’ for pro bono legal work which is directed overseas. It has been endorsed by the Bar Council, the International Bar Association, Law Society of England and Wales and the Institute of Legal Executives. To read the Declaration, please click here.
- (2014) – Collaborative Plan for Pro Bono in the UK
The Plan is a profession-led initiative in which participating law firms share a collective belief that pro bono is a professional responsibility for all lawyers. The Plan facilitates collaboration between firms to develop systems and infrastructure to allow pro bono services to be effectively delivered to address unmet legal need in the UK. The Plan also incorporates an aspirational target of 25 pro bono hours on average per fee-earner per year. TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono service that connects NGOs with law firm, publishes participants’ performance on an anonymous basis.
Other countries such as Poland, Israel, South Africa, Nigeria have made pro bono declarations and/or prepared voluntary protocols. Links to some of these can be found on the IBA pro bono website. More information on international pro bono in general can be found in International Pro Bono.
You can also find a comparison of various overseas protocols in:
- Reconsidering pro bono: A comparative analysis of protocols in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Singapore, Maguire, Rowena; Shearer, Gail and Field, Rachael, University of New South Wales Law Journal, Vol. 37, No. 3, 2014: 1164-1197
More information and resources
- Pro Bono Case Law: examples of Australian case law and judgments that relate specifically to pro bono
- Recovery of Costs: page specifically focused on the issue of recovery of costs in pro bono litigation
- Corporate Social Responsibility: information on the relationship between pro bono and Corporate Social Responsibility
- Past Conference Papers: from the biennial National Access to Justice and Pro Bono Conference