Justice Project: Pro Bono Tool
People who experience Economic Disadvantage

This project has been endorsed by the Law Council of Australia.

More information about this project can be found here

Priorities identified in the Justice Project Final Report

Priorities Identified in the Justice Project Final Report[i]:

  • Commonwealth, state and territory governments should invest significant additional resources in Legal Aid Commissions, Community Legal Centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, and Family Violence Prevention Legal Services to address critical civil and criminal legal assistance service gaps. This should include, at a minimum, $390 million per annum.
  • The Law Council recognises and accepts responsibility undertaking future complementary research and the development of a position paper which focuses on the needs of ‘the missing middle’ and the most effective strategies available to the private legal profession, amongst others in the profession, to assist this group to access legal assistance.
  • Technological innovation should be pursued in the delivery of legal services to clients experiencing disadvantage, including through dedicated funding streams and having regard to identified examples of what works in this area. At the same time, it should be recognised that digitally excluded groups may be left behind by technological innovation without due care being taken.
  • The Commonwealth Government, working with state and territory governments, should commission a full review of the resourcing needs of the judicial system.
  • Guidelines regarding the applicability and use of fee exemptions and waivers should be made clearer and, as much as possible, more publicly known to court participants. Exemption categories and court discretion to grant exemptions should also be reviewed and broadened in certain jurisdictions.
  • Transcript fee waivers should be generally available to clients of legal assistance services and pro bono services.
  • Having regard to the multiple ways in which lack of housing contributes to and exacerbates poor justice outcomes, legal, policy and service frameworks should be improved to avoid unnecessary evictions into homelessness and prioritise homelessness prevention, through investment in safe, secure and appropriate housing, including crisis housing, for vulnerable groups who are at risk of homelessness.
  • Government agencies (eg social security) which frequently deal with people experiencing disadvantage, and whose decisions can increase demands for civil legal assistance, should consider adapting their processes to enable more accessible, transparent decision-making.
  • Justice Impact Tests should be introduced at the Commonwealth, state and territory level to facilitate the smoother development of laws and policies which have downstream impacts on the justice system.
  • Governments should adopt law and policy development processes which ensure that the social impact of laws and policies upon vulnerable populations, including economically disadvantaged people, are better measured and evaluated;
  • All state and territory governments should consider the adoption of Work and Development Order schemes, along the lines of the existing NSW model.
  • Commonwealth, state and territory governments should (respectively, as appropriate) consider review and reform in the following priority areas of law, policy and practice, given their disproportionate impact on disadvantaged groups, including:
    • fines, penalty and infringement notices;
    • ‘law and order’ approaches’;
    • certain social security laws and programs, particularly the Community Development Program and Cashless Debit Card Program.
  • Periodic Legal-Australia Wide Surveys should be conducted to better measure the legal needs of the general population, as well as more targeted surveys and research which explores the legal needs and outcomes of different groups experiencing disadvantage within the justice system, including self-represented litigants.

[i] The Justice Project Final Report published by the Law Council of Australia (Aug 2018) can be found here.

Justice Project: Pro Bono Tool Summaries

Directory of Organisations

Quick links to organisations by location


Quick links to tables by location:

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

New South Wales (NSW)

Pro bono providers are encouraged to contact the Pro Bono Referral Schemes and Organisations to source pro bono matters. In New South Wales,  please contact Justice Connect

Queensland (QLD)

Pro bono providers are encouraged to contact the Pro Bono Referral Schemes and Organisations to source pro bono matters. In Queensland,  please contact LawRight

South Australia (SA)

Pro bono providers are encouraged to contact the Pro Bono Referral Schemes and Organisations to source pro bono matters. In South Australia,  please contact JusticeNet SA

Tasmania (TAS)

Victoria (VIC)

Pro bono providers are encouraged to contact the Pro Bono Referral Schemes and Organisations to source pro bono matters. In Victoria,  please contact Justice Connect

Western Australia (WA)

Pro bono providers are encouraged to contact the Pro Bono Referral Schemes and Organisations to source pro bono matters. In Western Australia,  please contact Law Access

[i] The Justice Project Final Report published by the Law Council of Australia (Aug 2018) can be found here.

Please note the Centre undertook the research to identify which priorities have been mapped to individual organisations. Not all organisations have confirmed yet whether the identified priorities are accurately mapped.