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A Resource Centre for Pro Bono Legal Work


Monday, 17th September 2001 at 1:09 pm
Staff Reporter
The Federal Government is considering a large number of proposals from organisations wanting to host and run a national Pro Bono Resource Centre.

Monday, 17th September 2001
at 1:09 pm
Staff Reporter


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A Resource Centre for Pro Bono Legal Work
Monday, 17th September 2001 at 1:09 pm

The Federal Government is considering a large number of proposals from organisations wanting to host and run a national Pro Bono Resource Centre.

The National Task Force into pro bono legal work delivered its report to the Attorney General in July with the centrepiece of the Recommended Action Plan being the establishment of an Australian Pro Bono Resource Centre. (see July Newsletter Vol 4 edition 2)

The Task Force was chaired by Australian Law Reform Commission chairman, Professor David Weisbrot and examines issues ranging from research and promotion of pro bono legal work to best practice resources, quality assurance and the need to co-ordinate a national effort.

It recommended the establishment of an ongoing body that would stimulate and encourage the development, expansion and co-ordination of pro bono legal services as well as offering practical experience for service providers and potential service providers. The centre would also play key roles of facilitating pro bono practice and enabling the collection and exchange of information.

The Centre is not intended to play a direct role in the delivery of pro bono legal services or serve as a client referral agency or replace existing programs such as PILCH or Voluntas.

The Assistant Secretary for the Resource Centre Project, Chris Meaney says some twenty organisations flagged their interest in submitting proposals to run the Centre.

He says the Attorney General’s department is greatly heartened by such a great response. The deadline for applications is September 28th.

He points out that the Task Force recommended that the Centre established as a small independent organisation with a high profile director and at least two support staff to begin with. It would develop its own identity and niche, determine its own priorities and seek to make the most effective use of human and other resources.

Meaney says the fundamental aim of the Centre will be to promote access to high quality pro bono legal services.

He says the 2001-02 Budget includes $1 million to be provided over 4 years to support the outcomes arising from the Task Force report, with a substantial proportion of the funds going towards establishing and running the Centre.

If you would like a copy of the application details in Word format please send us an e-mail to probono@probonoaustralia.com.au. The proposal also provides detailed information on the Task Force’s action plan for the Resource Centre which is worth a read.

Since the National Pro Bono Law Conference in Canberra last year, two participants, Christopher Arup and Kathy Laster have put a significant effort into editing papers from the conference and putting them together into a book called For the Public Good: Pro Bono and the legal profession in Australia.

The publication has been funded by the Commonwealth Government. Pro Bono Australia would like to offer our readers a chance to win a copy of this significant publication. Send us an e-mail toprobono@probonoaustralia.com.au saying you would like a copy. The first e-mail received (based on the time of day) will be the winner.



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