Pro Bono

Our lawyers advise on a wide variety of pro bono matters, and assist many vulnerable members of our community. Through our partnerships with organisations like Justice Connect, LawRight, the Refugee Advice & Casework Service and Refugee Legal, we strive to help alleviate some of the pressure on vulnerable people and address some of society’s unmet legal needs.

Helping Self-Represented Litigants

Self-represented litigants are inherently vulnerable as outsiders in the court system, often facing a represented party on the other side. Our volunteer lawyers provide legal information, advice and self-help strategies, particularly in bankruptcy, fair work, human rights and discrimination and judicial review proceedings through our partnerships with Justice Connect and LawRight.

In 2017, the Sydney Self Representation Service was a finalist for the 2017 Pro Bono Partnership Award at the Annual Justice Awards, hosted by the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW. Our lawyers in Sydney have been involved in the Service since it was established in 2014, and since then have contributed more than 450 hours of pro bono legal assistance.

If you are unrepresented in a bankruptcy, employment, human rights/discrimination or judicial review issue in the Federal Court or Federal Circuit Court in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania or the ACT and would like free legal advice and assistance, contact the Justice Connect Self Representation Service on 1800 727 550.

If you would like assistance from the State Courts Self Representation Service in Queensland, you can contact the LawRight Self Representation Service on 07 3247 9222.

Protecting Seniors’ Rights and Preventing Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is an area of increasing unmet legal need. In Sydney and Melbourne, we regularly accept referrals of matters concerning seniors’ rights.

Our Sydney office has partnered with the Senior Rights Service to assist vulnerable older people, particularly where they have been subject to abuse. Through the Service’s Telephone Advice Clinic, our lawyers help with a range of legal issues, such as wills, powers of attorney, guardianship and advise on elder abuse, including physical, emotional and financial abuse and neglect.

For more information about elder abuse or seniors rights, contact the Senior Rights Service on 1800 424 079.

For more information about elder abuse or seniors rights, contact the
Senior Rights Service on 1800 424 079.

Helping Refugees and People Seeking Asylum

We have increased our capabilities and capacity to help refugee clients and people seeking asylum over the past year and are proud of the assistance we provide to those in need, who often have little understanding of the legal framework and procedure.

How we have helped

The Legacy Caseload

The Legacy Caseload was created by changes to the law in 2012 that permitted more than 30,000 asylum seekers to enter Australia, but without any clear path for applying for refugee status. Under a more recent law, these people can apply for refugee status with some guarantee of finality. Our lawyers and staff volunteer at clinics run by Refugee Legal and the Refugee Advice & Casework Service, assisting members of the Legacy Caseload to complete applications for protection visas.

Our participation in this and the Refugee Legal Clinic helped ensure that almost every person in Australia that is part of the Legacy Caseload was able to file their application for protection before 1 October 2017. We’re proud that the RACS Clinic was one of five finalists for the 2017 Human Rights Law Award.

Judicial Review

Around 25,000 people in Australia have applied for protection as part of the Legacy Caseload. These people are asylum seekers and refugees who arrived by boat after 13 August 2012.

As their applications are determined, these individuals need advice and representation in judicial reviews of refugee decisions, and our lawyers assist them in a pro bono capacity.

Asylum Seekers Offshore

We have partnered with the Human Rights Law Centre to help refugees and asylum seekers who were previously detained in offshore detention but transferred to Australia for medical treatment.

We work with these clients to lodge applications in the High Court to prevent their transfer to offshore detention in circumstances where that transfer would be harmful to them.

Assisting Not-For-Profit Organisations

In addition to providing advice to individuals, we also provide legal advice and assistance to a variety of not-for-profit organisations. We provide pro bono support to organisations offering a wide range of important non-legal services to the vulnerable, disadvantaged and marginalised within the community, as well as those addressing issues of public interest and importance through awareness, advocacy and education.

Some of the assistance we have provided includes

  • advice on the extent of the liability faced by directors of not-for-profit organisations when discharging their duties as directors
  • helping a community organisation that provides medium-term accommodation to homeless women who are the survivors of childhood sexual abuse with its defence of a claim
  • reviewing unincorporated associations’ constitutions for compliance with new regulations.

If you are a not-for-profit seeking legal assistance, a good starting point is the Justice Connect Not-for-profit Information Hub.