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. Currently, we have five such programs:
- Self Representation Service – training, assistance and referrals for those who find themselves unrepresented in Fair Work and bankruptcy matters in the Federal and Federal Circuit Courts in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and ACT.
- Not-for-profit Law - a specialist legal service for not-for-profit community organisations, providing information, training, advice and pro bono referrals, in NSW and Victoria. We help the helpers.
- MOSAIC - a program of Justice Connect’s Referral Service that provides free legal assistance and advocacy to refugees, asylum seekers and recently arrived migrants (who are from a non-English speaking background).
- Homeless Law - for clients experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, with various outreach sites and targeted programs helping women facing homelessness and prisoners.
- Seniors Law - for older clients with a legal issue associated with ageing, including elder abuse, including a new program placing lawyers in the healthcare system.
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.