From time to time the Western Australian Bar Association (WABA) receives requests for legal assistance on a reduced fee or pro bono basis. Although WABA does not operate a formal pro bono service, in an appropriate case, WABA will inquire of its members whether they are willing to provide assistance in a particular case. It is a matter for individual members as to whether they are willing to assist.
Usually any assistance that will be provided by a barrister will be limited to preparing a legal opinion or presenting a case in court. Where the assistance involves presenting a case in court, then barristers will usually choose only to act with an instructing solicitor. Generally speaking, members of WABA do not accept instructions directly from a client - members are briefed by an instructing solicitor.
If you want pro bono legal assistance, the following notes may help you.
What to do if you need legal assistance, cannot afford to pay for it and cannot obtain other funding. Where to go first?
In most cases, the best first step is to visit a Community Legal Centre, a Citizens Advice Bureau, or a solicitor.
For information about Community Legal Centres and their locations, go to www.communitylaw.net.
For information about Citizens Advice Bureaus and their locations, see www.cabwa.com.au.
For assistance in contacting a solicitor, you may wish to contact the Law Society of Western Australia – a voluntary professional association for lawyers. The Law Society, through their "Law Access" scheme, may be in a position to assist you in securing the services of a solicitor, on a pro bono basis. The Law Society’s contact particulars are set out below:
Executive Manager Community Services
160 St George’s Terrace
PERTH WA 6000
Telephone: (08) 9322 7877
Requests to WABA for pro bono legal assistance
If you would like WABA to inquire of its members whether they are willing to provide reduced fee or pro bono legal assistance to you, it is important that you give us sufficient information to send to members with your request for assistance.
The information should be general in nature. The WABA will treat the information as being provided in confidence, but, it will be necessary to disclose details to WABA members in order to make inquiries as to whether any barrister may be in a position to assist.
Your request to WABA for pro bono assistance can be sent:
Western Australian Bar Association
77 St George’s Terrace
PERTH WA 6000
The information you provide with your request must include:
Once your response is received, a determination will be made as to whether this is a matter that members of the WABA may be able to assist with. Whether WABA refers your request to its members depends on many things including financial considerations (how much you earn, what savings you might have etc), the legal merits, the type of legal help you are looking for and the potential consequences of legal assistance not being provided.
If WABA determines that its members may be able to assist with your request, it will send you the information that it proposes to circulate to members for your comment and approval. When you have approved of the information for circulation, WABA will circulate that information to members (except to those members with known conflicts of interest) and inquire of its members whether they are willing to provide assistance. WABA will let you know the results of its inquiry, generally within 2 days of making the inquiry of its members.