The thousands of hours and millions of dollars worth of free legal services provided by Victorian barristers were acknowledged last night at the Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards.
The awards were presented at the Supreme Court of Victoria by the Chief Justice, Marilyn Warren AC, and recognised more than $6.5 million worth of free legal work provided in 2009.
Awards were presented in seven categories, including the Victorian Bar Pro Bono Trophy, awarded to Julian Burnside AO QC; the Public Interest Award, presented to the 'Gunns20' team of barristers who worked on the Gunns litigation; and the Justice Innovation Award, presented to the barristers involved in the Bushfire Legal Help response to the Black Saturday fires last year.
"The 10th anniversary of the Victorian Bar Pro Bono Scheme offers the opportunity to recognise and applaud the commitment to access to justice demonstrated by our Victorian Bar members," said Victorian Bar chairman, Michael Colbran QC.
"We acknowledge the achievements of all barristers - including the nominees and the award recipients tonight - in their pro bono work.
"During Law Week, when our focus is on access to justice, it is important to remember that Victorian barristers have always answered the call for legal support for those with good claims but no means to pursue them," he said.