find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Victorian barristers pitch up for pro bono scheme

Victorian barristers pitch up for pro bono scheme

The Victorian Bar has taken a new tack in its efforts to promote access to justice, launching its own pro bono scheme for unrepresented parties.

Eighty-six barristers, including senior counsels, have already volunteered to sign up to a roster system of Duty Barristers.

The pilot scheme for the latter part of 2013 will focus on civil appeals. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, was chosen due to its high number of applications for leave to appeal by self-represented litigants.

In a letter to members, Jane Dixon SC, Will Alstergren SC and Nick Papas SC said the scheme will clear backlogs and assist the Victorian Bar in making credible submissions to government on issues of access to justice and shortfalls in legal aid funding. It will also provide an opportunity for junior counsel to work closely with senior counsel and senior juniors to enhance their practice.

The scheme follows numerous efforts by the Victorian Bar to persuade political parties to boost legal aid funding, including the launch of a petition with the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) in August.

Victoria Legal Aid made the widest-ranging funding cuts to legal aid grants in its history in January due to “unprecedented demand” for its services, which it said had not been met with proportionate increases in government funding.

Fiona McLeod SC (pictured), chair of the Victorian Bar and a judge at this year’s Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards, said at the time: “It costs more in the long term – socially, morally and fiscally – when there are court delays, appeals and potential for miscarriages of justice.”

The UK legal system is also dealing with the consequences of legal aid cuts, including an unprecedented increase in unrepresented parties. In April, the UK judiciary released a guide for self-represented litigants making applications to the Interim Applications Court of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court.

Writing in the guide’s foreword, Sir John Thomas, President of the Queen’s Bench Division, said: “The purpose of the Guide is simply to set out a few important practical points for a litigant in person to bear in mind when presenting his or her case.”

However, a 2012 Civil Justice Council report on self-represented litigants stated that the UK system is “one designed for lawyers” and which was “far too complex and obscure for those representing themselves”.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Victorian barristers pitch up for pro bono scheme
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice, ALA, right-to-die law
Oct 24 2017
‘Right-to-die’ laws would be a relief for terminally ill: ALA
The passage of an assisted dying bill through the lower house of Victorian Parliament has been haile...
Oct 24 2017
Diversity top of agenda for future WA Law Society president
The advancement of diversity in the Western Australian legal profession will be one of the key items...
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...