At Justice Connect we provide access to justice through pro bono legal work. With our deep and strong connection with the legal community, we fill unmet legal need, grow pro bono culture, and challenge and change laws that hurt those most in need.
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FAIRNESS AND JUSTICE THROUGH THE POWER OF PRO BONO
Justice Connect helps people facing disadvantage who are ineligible for legal aid and cannot afford a lawyer - and the community groups who support them - to access free legal assistance. We harness the power of pro bono legal help to create a fairer and more just world.
Along with delivering services those who need them, we work closely with lawyers to build and strengthen a commitment to the pro bono ethos and to support them to undertake pro bono work, and we challenge and change unfair laws and policies that inhibit access to justice.
There are two core elements to our work. The first is assisting disadvantaged individuals to obtain legal assistance where they cannot afford a lawyer or obtain legal aid. Justice Connect receives and assesses requests for pro bono legal assistance from the public and refers them to pro bono solicitors and barristers through our Referral Service program.
Justice Connect is also known for the development of innovative and sustainable programs that target the unmet legal needs of particular client groups. Pro bono lawyers play a key role in providing legal advice, representation and training in these programs.
Sometimes our work reveals laws or policies that cause or perpetuate disadvantage, or which are unduly complex. We engage with law and policy makers to help improve these laws. Our law and policy reform work is based on evidence drawn from our casework and uses the stories of our clients to give them a voice and highlight the need for change.
Staff at Justice Connect are energetic, professional, focussed and enthusiastic. Justice Connect has a positive workplace culture, subject to Policies and Procedures that are available on request and on induction.
Students will be covered by Justice Connect for professional indemnity insurance, public liability insurance and voluntary workers insurance. Justice Connect will provide students with a safe and healthy system of work during the placement.
Legal Practice Areas
PLT students in our Sydney office have the opportunity to work with our Public Interest Law and Court programs (PILCP) service and the Not-for- profit Law service. PLT students in our Melbourne office have the opportunity to work with our Public Interest Law and Court programs (PILCP) service, Not-for- Profit Law service, Homeless Law and Seniors Law.
1. Public Interest Law Service and Court Programs
Public Interest Law casework is a central part of Justice Connect's practice, and provides PLT students with an opportunity to develop practical and procedural legal experience and skills across diverse practice areas. Justice Connect makes referrals to barristers and lawyers on behalf of individuals and organisations that cannot obtain or afford legal assistance elsewhere, and where access to justice considerations apply, for example, marginalisation, discrimination, or the public interest. Focus areas include refugee and migrant rights, disability rights, ending elder abuse with pro bono and workplace rights.
Justice Connect's Court Programs services empower individuals experiencing disadvantage to pursue and enforce their rights and duties at court. We assist those unrepresented in a bankruptcy, Fair Work (employment), human rights/discrimination or judicial review issue. PLT students will have the opportunity to assist the paralegal and lawyers manage client enquiries (including at court) such as obtaining client information (including using the court online resources) and carrying out administrative tasks as required, and much more.
2. Not-for- profit Law
Our Not-for- profit Law service aims to 'help the helpers' by providing free and low-cost legal information, advice and training to not-for- profit community organisations. Not-for- profit Law’s advocacy is focussed on improving the legal framework and reducing red tape for the not-for- profit sector. PLT students may also have the opportunity to attend and participate in Not-for- profit Law’s seminar series and training for not-for- profit organisations, and to assist Not-for- profit Law lawyers with law reform and policy work.
3. Specialist legal services
Justice Connect operates two specialist Community legal services: Homeless Law in Melbourne and Seniors Law in Melbourne and Sydney.
Homeless Law provides free legal assistance and advocacy to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Seniors Law is a specialist legal service designed to respond to and prevent elder abuse and to assist clients with other issues associated with ageing.
Legal assistance is provided by pro bono lawyers at homelessness assistance services and health services to facilitate direct access by clients and to provide a service that works closely and collaboratively with other allied service providers.
Our Homeless Law and Seniors Law services also undertake significant law reform, advocacy and community development activities to promote and protect the fundamental human rights of older people and people experiencing homelessness.
"I spent a great 3 months at Justice Connect in the Referrals team to complete my PLT and would strongly recommend it to all PLT students. I was attracted to the organisation as I saw it as an opportunity to experience and be involved in a broad range of legal issues. There is no typical workload at Justice Connect and this is one of the unique benefits of undertaking the PLT here. I have learnt an incredible amount about the Australian legal system from my time here and for those students who, like myself, had a desire to learn about all areas of Australian law then Justice Connect is the perfect place to consider.
On top of the professional benefits Justice Connect provides, you will not find a better group of people to work with and to learn from. Justice Connect has an amazing group of committed individuals that make a real difference to the lives of those who need it the most. Wherever I go in my legal career, I will always remember my time here.”
-Peter Knespal, Public Interest Law (previously known as Referrals Service) PLT, April 2017