Pro Bono Law Task Force
23 October 2000 at 12:10 pm
The Federal Attorney General, Daryl Williams QC has announced the membership of a task force to examine pro bono law projects.
The task force is made up of representatives from the public, private and community legal sector, judges, legal educators, business and the philanthropic sector around Australia.
Professor David Weisbrot, the President of the Australian Law Reform Commission, will chair the task force, which was decided on at the first national Pro Bono Law Conference held in Canberra in August.
The Attorney General says that it was clear from the conference that the legal profession continues to make a significant contribution to the community through pro bono work.
Figures recently released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimate that in 1998-1999 solicitors spent 1.78 million hours and barristers a further 489,000 hours doing pro bono work.
The Attorney General says the government wants to help maximise the benefits obtained from the profession’s efforts.
The conference found pro bono effort around Australia is fragmented and there is a need to share and coordinate resources to ensure they are being used as fully as possible and the right services go to the people who need them.
The task force will examine these issues as well as research, promotion of pro bono, best practice resources and quality assurance guidelines and mechanisms.
The task force will report to the minister within three months on priorities and plans for the implementation of key projects.
The other task force members are:
Mark Herron, Executive Director of the Victorian law Foundation
Assoc. Prof. Chris Arup, Head of la Trobe University’s law School
John Hodgins, Chair of National Legal Aid
Merran Lawler, Caxton Legal Centre
Jill Anderson, Australian Council of Social Services
Professor Paul Fairall, Head of School of Law, James Cook University
Jane Farnsworth, partner at Mallesons Stephen Jacques
Samantha Burchell, Executive Director Public Interest Law Clearing House
Andrea Durbach, Director Public Interest Advocacy Centre
Alexandra Richards QC, President Australian Women’s Lawyers
Annette O’Neill, President Law Foundation of NSW
Dr. Kate Harrison, partner Gilbert and Tobin
Peter Martino, barrister West Australian Bar
Brian Withers, partner Johnston Withers
John Boersig, Many Rivers Aboriginal Legal Service