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Pro bono initiative to strengthen rule of law: A-G
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Pro bono initiative to strengthen rule of law: A-G

A new international pro bono advisory group, modeled on a current system in the UK, will be established by the country's first legal officer.

A new international pro bono advisory group, modeled on a current system in the UK, will be established by the country’s first legal officer. 

The new group will help coordinate international pro bono work with other Government-run pro bono development work and will help forge relationships with other countries and professional associations interested in the area, federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland said yesterday. 

Pro bono legal work can help strengthen the rule of law in the Australian region, said McClelland. “This is an important goal in its own right. And it underpins social and economic structures and cultures.”

McClelland announced his plans at yesterday’s launch of Lawyers Without Borders, an Australian volunteer initiative of which former High Court judge Michael Kirby is a patron. 

The new advisory group will have a similar role in respect of international pro bono work being undertaken by Australian lawyers, McClelland said. 

About $90 million worth of law and justice development work is being done each year by various Commonwealth agencies. 

In a speech congratulating Australian lawyers for the pro bono work they do, the Attorney said that “much of our legal fraternity wants to engage in meaningful pro bono work”. 

Australian lawyers don’t do pro bono work because they have to, but because they think it’s the right thing to do, he said.  


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