National ‘Legal Pro Bono’ Resource Centre
Tuesday, 27th November 2001 at 12:11 pm
The Federal Government has announced that a consortium lead by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) has been selected to establish and run a National Legal Pro Bono Resource Centre.
PIAC is partnered by the Law Society of Western Australia, the Public Interest Law Clearing House (PILCH) NSW, PILCH Victoria, the University of New South Wales and the National Association of Community Legal Centres.
The Coalition has committed to fund the centre for $1 million over four years.
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. (Volume 4 Edition 2)
The Task Force was chaired by Australian Law Reform Commission chairman, Professor David Weisbrot, and examined 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 Assistant Secretary for the Resource Centre Project, Chris Meaney says the Task Force recommended that the Centre be 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.
Details of the Centre are still to be finalised.