Justice Project Report:
Pro Bono Mapping

The Australian Pro Bono Centre (the Centre) aims to grow the capacity of the Australian legal profession to provide best practice pro bono legal services focused on the greatest unmet legal need.

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The Law Council of Australia works for the improvement of the law and administration of justice and recognises the importance of best practice pro bono legal services.

The Justice Project Final Report

In August 2018, the Law Council released The Justice Project Final Report, a comprehensive national review of the state of access to justice in Australia for people experiencing significant disadvantage (the Justice Project Report). The Justice Project Report focuses on thirteen priority groups including: people with disability, people experiencing economic disadvantage, LGBTI+ people, prisoners and detainees, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people who experience family violence, people who have been trafficked and exploited, recent arrivals to Australia, children and young people, RRR Australians, asylum seekers, older persons and people who are homeless. It identified service gaps and systemic flaws in the justice system and highlighted what is working well. The Justice Project Report contains priorities for each of the thirteen groups that result from an analysis of each group’s relevant legal needs, barriers, service gaps and laws, policies and practices (the Priorities).

The Justice Project Report also makes recommendations focusing on the different actors of the justice system and how they can best serve the needs of people experiencing disadvantage. In particular, pursuant to Recommendation 2.3, “the Law Council recognises and accepts responsibility for cooperating with pro bono organisations to ensure ongoing improvement in the recognition, encouragement, referral and adoption of best practice with respect to pro bono legal services”.

Project background

Building on the Justice Project Report, the Centre has created this resource in order to drive pro bono support toward organisations and initiatives focused on the greatest unmet legal need (the Mapping). The Mapping is intended to be used as a practical tool to inform pro bono providers.

To achieve this, the Centre has mapped organisations seeking pro bono support who are working towards the Priorities listed in the Justice Project Report. Specifically, the Mapping has been carried out for each of the thirteen priority groups and lists:

  • opportunities for pro bono legal support;
  • organisations (as well as initiatives within organisations) working on justice issues for this group;
  • the Priorities these organisations are working on;
  • the type of services provided (direct legal services/law reform); and
  • information about cultural competence training for pro bono providers.

Mapping methodology

The Mapping lists organisations and initiatives in which any aspect of their work may lead to furthering the Priorities. Although some Priorities are specifically directed at Commonwealth or State and Territories governments, if an organisation/initiative’s work can help inform or advocate for related policy or law reform, then it has been mapped to such Priorities.

For example, front line legal services can play a role in encouraging policy shifts, such as increasing funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, by highlighting the need and the importance of providing these services. Through direct client work, an organisation is also able to provide government with feedback on the lived experience of its clients which can lead to specific policy reform. For this reason, the Priorities have been broadly interpreted to acknowledge the work of a variety of organisations that are working towards making the justice system more equitable.

The Centre initially identified which Priorities an organisation/initiative aims to further and then asked for confirmation from each individual organisation. When confirmation has not been received, this has been indicated.

Mapping resources for priority groups

For each priority group, the following resources are available:

  • Mapping table – this is the most detailed mapping document with information on each organisation, their work, what Priorities they are working towards, whether they provide cultural competence training for pro bono providers and what pro bono opportunities they can offer.
  • Mapping summary – this is an overview of the mapping project that groups organisations by the Priorities they are working on.
  • Infographic – a short summary of the access to justice issues faced by the corresponding Priority group, important statistics from the Justice Report chapter and a summary of the priorities made by the Law Council. Also available on the Law Council’s website.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people