this product is unavailable for purchase using a firm account, please log in with a personal account to make this purchase.

Institute update

Every Issue

Cite as: (2002) 76(10) LIJ, p.89


Among the issues discussed at the Council meeting on 12 September was the passing of a definition of pro bono. There was also a country consultation with members of rural law associations. Briony Le Duc announced her resignation from Council.


Last year, state Attorney-General Rob Hulls announced he was putting the provision of legal services to government to tender. Among the requirements for successful tenderers was a commitment to undertake pro bono work to the value of between 5 per cent and 14 per cent of the value of the tender.

The tender process suggests that the Attorney-General will set pro bono “priorities” each year. Appointees to the specialist and general panels were announced on 15 July 2002. To date, it would appear that the Attorney-General has not set pro bono priorities for the period of the tender.

It has been the practice of other organisations (including corporations) to at least consider the pro bono record and proposed program of firms tendering for that organisation’s legal work.

During the past decade a number of different “working” definitions of pro bono have been developed. By far the most comprehensive was that adopted by the Law Council of Australia (LCA) in 1996. That definition is provided below, and received the approval of the profession, state and territory legal aid commissions, the Federation of Community Legal Centres, the federal government and others.

“Pro bono legal work means:

1. A lawyer, without fee or without expectation of a fee, or at a substantially reduced fee, advises and/or represents a client in cases where:

(i) a client has no other access to the courts (or such access is inadequate) and the legal system;
(ii) the client’s case raises a wider issue of public interest; or

2. the lawyer is involved in free community legal education and/or law reform; or

3. the lawyer is involved in the giving of free legal advice and/or representation to charitable and community organisations.”

The first issue is that of the integrity and independence of the legal profession. The key question is whether or not that independence is compromised by allowing large “purchasers” of legal services to dictate the value of various types of pro bono work.

The second issue is whether or not there can be a quantitative assessment of each type of pro bono services. The key question is can we say that one type of pro bono work is more valuable than any other?

The object of adopting any policy is to give the profession and clients access to an appropriate and efficacious tender process. Most importantly, it will reiterate the value of all types of pro bono work.

The Council then passed the recommendations put forward by the Law Institute’s Access to Justice Committee. The first part of the recommendations was to adopt the LCA’s definition of pro bono.

The second recommendation was that the Institute rejects any notions that some legal work undertaken by a lawyer pro bono can have a value greater than any other type of legal work so undertaken, except to the extent that any legal work undertaken pro bono may be valued by reference to the charge which the lawyer would normally make for such work.

The final recommendation passed was that the Institute was of the view that an attempt by any client to direct a lawyer, as part of the lawyer’s retainer, to give greater priority to undertake certain types of legal work pro bono over other types, or refuse to undertake any types of legal work pro bono was an unwarranted interference with the independence of the profession, and contrary to the public interest.


Presidents from four country law associations attended the Council meeting to take part in a country consultation with Council members. The attendees were Jacqui Billings, of the Gippsland Law Association, James Leach, of the Bendigo Law Association, Chris Welsh, of the North East Law Association, and Grant Ezzy, vice-president of the Western District Law Association.

The consultation covered a number of issues, including legal aid fees in criminal law matters, the work of the Regional Young Lawyers Committee, the lack of staff in the Bendigo courts, videoconferencing and access to the Law Institute.


Briony Le Duc announced her resignation from the Council, effective from the close of the meeting held on 12 September. Ms Le Duc was elected to the Council in 2001.


President David Faram, 9607 9366
Vice President Bill O’Shea, 8602 9200
Immediate Past President John Corcoran, 9609 1555
Treasurer Judith Peirce, 9363 1811
Executive Member Chris Dale, 9286 6164
Simon Begg 9620 0700
Richard Fleming 8686 6000
Leonie Kelleher 9429 8111
Aurora Kostezky 9670 0700
Kirsten Mander 9673 0400
Tom May 9670 6123
Tina Millar 9336 2411
Jason Newman 9603 3555
Geoff Provis 9612 8222
Erskine Rodan 9329 8744
Victoria Strong 8686 6000
John Weigl 5222 2277
Mark Woods 5174 6311
Eastern Suburbs Law Association
Pippa Sampson 9562 0811
Northern Suburbs Law Association
Andrew Wilson 9499 1899
North Western Solicitors Association
Bruce Millar 9336 2411
Southern Solicitors Group
Michael Pharr 9596 6022
Western Suburbs Law Association
Peter Mecoles 9687 3211

Ballarat & District Law Association
Anita Rose-Innes 5331 7888
Bendigo Law Association
James Leach 5444 0906
Geelong Law Association
Michael Brugman 5229 3555
Gippsland Law Association
Jacqui Billings 5127 1944
Goulburn Valley Law Association
Nicole Inglis 5852 2555
Mornington Peninsula Solicitors
Nick Roberts 5975 4133
North East Law Association
Chris Welsh (02) 6041 4522
North West Law Association
Shane Ryan 5023 0571
Western District Law Association
Tony Robinson 5562 1044
Wimmera Law Association
Janelle Brown 5382 0061

To find out more about LIV Governance and Representation see and or telephone the Secretary to the Council on 9607 9372 or email



You can obtain further information on conferences, seminars or workshops through the LIV website at For more information, contact the Professional Development Department by fax on 9607 9451, email at, or by telephone on 9607 9387.

Young Lawyers’ Annual Lecture Series
When: Tuesday evenings from 6pm
Where: Law Institute of Victoria
12 November – Litigation: Appearing before VCAT
19 November – Commercial: Information Technology Law – new developments
26 November – Commercial: Registering Companies, Businesses & Unincorporated Associations
Teleconferencing is available.

Negotiation Skills One-day Workshop
When: 11 November 2002 (registration from 8.30am)
Where: RACV City Club, 123 Queen Street, Melbourne
The Young Lawyers’ Section and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee of the Litigation Lawyers Section have designed this one-day workshop to assist lawyers in negotiating long-term agreements and to provide helpful hints on improving everyday negotiation skills. Preparing for negotiation, dirty tricks and what to do, concessions, and being persuasive are among the topics being covered. Presented by The Accord Group, the course is limited to 25 participants. Register early to ensure your place.

Other conferences and workshops

  • Criminal Law Conference, 8, 9 & 10 November, Cumberland Lorne Resort
  • Tax Law Series: New Value Shifting and Demerger Rules

When: 13, 20, and 27 November and 4 December from 6pm to 7.30pm
The object of this course is to provide an in-depth analysis of the proposed value shifting and demerger rules (which, when enacted, will apply from 1 July 2002) and the manner in which these rules apply to a range of commercial transactions.

  • Family Law Annual Conference, Joint Bar and LIV, February 2003, Bendigo.


Profiles Careers Handbook Out Now

Looking for legal employment or articles of clerkship? Let us help make your search easier with the Profiles Careers Handbook. This publication lists legal firms, companies and government divisions that employ lawyers and law graduates, and provides essential details to help you find your ideal job.

It is available from the Law Institute bookshop for $25 plus $4.50 for postage. Visit the bookshop’s website at to download the order form and fax your order to 9607 9326. Otherwise, visit the bookshop at 470 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

Hot Topic Discussion
The Young Lawyers’ Law Reform Committee presents a hot topic discussion on a current controversial issue: “Same sex marriages in Australia: who should be allowed to get married?”. A carefully selected panel of experts will explore the broad range of conflicting perspectives in a relaxed environment.
When: Wednesday, 6 November 2002, from 6-8pm.
Where: The Kitten Club Bar, 267 Little Collins Street, Melbourne. The cost is $25. To book, please contact the Young Lawyers’ Section on 9607 9381 or email Proudly sponsored by Greens List.

Legal Fun Run & Power Walk
Solicitors and barristers of all ages are invited to participate in the Legal Fun Run & Power Walk on Monday, 25 November 2002 at 6.30pm. Individual and team participants may choose to run two laps or power walk one lap around the Tan Track.
Prizes will be awarded to the fastest solicitors’ or barristers’ team, as well as individuals in various categories. Entry fee is $25. All entrants are invited to the Melbourne University Boat Club Shed after the race for the presentation of trophies followed by a gourmet BBQ and refreshments. To register online, visit For further details, contact the Young Lawyers’ Section on 9607 9381 or email Proudly sponsored by Greens List and Hughes Castell.


Leave message

 Security code
LIV Social