In June 2001 the National Pro Bono Task Force, established by the Attorney-General of Australia, the Hon Daryl Williams AM QC MP, provided its Report.
The Task Force, headed by Prof David Weisbrot, then President of the Australian Law Reform Commission, strongly recommended the establishment of:
… an ongoing body such as a secretariat or centre that would stimulate and encourage the development, expansion and co-ordination of pro bono services, as well as offering practical assistance for pro bono service providers (and potential providers). The Centre would play the key roles of facilitating pro bono practice and enabling the collection and exchange of information.
The Centre opened its doors at the University of New South Wales in August 2002, where it is still located today.
In June 2015 the Centre changed its name from the National Pro Bono Resource Centre to the Australian Pro Bono Centre to better reflect its role in an increasingly global pro bono context. More information on this change can be found here.
The role of the Centre
The Australian Pro Bono Centre is an independent centre of expertise that aims to grow the capacity of the Australian legal profession to provide pro bono legal services that are focused on increasing access to justice for socially disadvantaged and/or marginalised persons, and furthering the public interest.
The Centre works to achieve this by:
Strengthening the place of pro bono legal work within the Australian legal profession as an integral part of legal practice
Providing practical assistance to facilitate, and remove barriers to, the provision of pro bono legal services, and
Promoting the pro bono legal work of the Australian legal profession.
The Centre does not provide legal advice or legal assistance, or refer individuals to pro bono lawyers. Individual case referrals are directed to appropriate legal services, including pro bono referral schemes & organisations which exist in all states and territories of Australia.
The Centre promotes and supports pro bono as an adviser, advocate, researcher, broker and resource provider. If you need information, advice or assistance in setting up a pro bono program or on any other issue related to pro bono legal assistance in Australia please contact us or refer to our publications and resources.
For more information on the Centre’s current strategies and recent activities, please refer to: