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Pro Bono Work

Message from the President

Thank you for being interested in the pro bono activities of NSW Young Lawyers and the opportunities they offer for service to the profession and community, and for the development of professional skills and experience for our Members.

One of the objectives of NSW Young Lawyers is to engender respect for the rule of law and improve access to justice by undertaking and encouraging pro bono service by all. This has always been at the heart of what NSW Young Lawyers does, and what we continue to do, as a peak professional body and thought leader in the profession.

This is just a small selection of the pro bono activities of NSW Young Lawyers. Our 16 Committees are continually developing new pro bono activities, whether they be projects like those below, publications for the community, or community information days. If you are interested in being involved in the pro bono activities of NSW Young Lawyers, or have any ideas of pro bono activities we should do, please email the NSW Young Lawyers President.

Refugee Assistance Project

From September 2016 to September 2017, NSW Young Lawyers worked with the Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) on a project designed to help people seeking asylum who came by boat with the protection visa application process.

The Refugee Assistance Project, developed by the NSW Young Lawyers Human Rights Committee, was designed to assist a large proportion of unrepresented people in Australia who were requesting asylum with filling in their visa application forms under the Fast Track process.

This project involved over 200 volunteer lawyers and interpreters and helped approximately 160 people to complete their visa application forms.

This project contributed to RACS’ Legal Help for Refugees Clinic, which provided statement-taking assistance and pre-lodgement migration advice to people seeking asylum.

This project won the 2016 and 2017 NSW Young Lawyers "Best Community Project" Patron's Award and 2017 Australian Young Lawyers Organisation Award.

Duty Solicitor Scheme

The Workplace and Safety Law Committee of NSW Young Lawyers worked with the Fair Work Commission to establish and implement the Fair Work Commission Duty Solicitor Scheme. The Duty Solicitor Scheme provides a fortnightly roster of duty solicitors to the Fair Work Commission for unfair dismissal jurisdictional hearings heard in the Friday list. Solicitors are able to volunteer to be a duty solicitor one Friday per year, or more. Volunteers act on behalf of the Commission and assist unrepresented parties understand what occurs at jurisdictional hearings and the issues that the Commission will want to see addressed during the hearing. As a duty solicitor, volunteers may also assist the Commission by explaining the unrepresented party’s position before the member presiding. Unrepresented parties are both applicants and respondents (in the case of respondents, this may include small to medium businesses).

The Duty Solicitor Scheme is a great opportunity for volunteers to assist unrepresented parties, build communication skills and get exposure to process and procedure in the Fair Work Commission. To be part of the Duty Solicitor Scheme you need to have a current practising certificate, and at least 12 months experience specifically in employment law in the Commission.

For further information about the Duty Solicitor Scheme or to volunteer, please email the Workplace and Safety Law Commitee Chair.


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