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We have a longstanding commitment to pro bono work as part of our professional responsibility as lawyers to assist those unable to afford advice or representation.  Our pro bono work is directed towards promoting human rights and social justice, including through the arts.

We are members of Justice Connect (Melbourne and Sydney) and QPILCH, and have strong relationships with a number of community legal centres, including RefugeeLegal, Caxton Legal Centre, the Refugee and Immigration Legal Service, the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and the Arts Law Centre.

We are a signatory to the National Pro Bono Aspirational Target which encourages all law firms to achieve an annual average of 35 hours of pro bono work per lawyer, and to the NSW Government’s Expert Advice Exchange.

Our clients

Our lawyers participate in the Homeless People’s Legal Clinic in Brisbane; volunteer as duty lawyers with the Women’s Legal Service assisting women with Family Violence Intervention Orders in Melbourne; and regularly offer telephone advice to clients of the Arts Law Centre.

Our individual clients have included asylum seekers seeking judicial review of decisions to reject their applications for protection; elderly parents at risk of losing their homes after borrowing to assist their children and other victims of predatory financial practices; vulnerable employees challenging discrimination at work on the basis of race, gender, pregnancy or disability; Aboriginal organisations seeking to protect cultural heritage; organisations and individuals seeking to protect animals or the environment.

We also provide pro bono advice to charities and community organisations working to address disadvantage and promote the public good. Current clients include: 3 MBS Fine Music, Cardiomyopathy Association of Australia, CERES Community Environment Park, Community Radio Federation, Disabled winter Sport Australia, Express Media, Farm Rescue Inc, Gate 1 Chance Charity, Gingercloud Foundation, International Women’s Development Agency, La Mama Theatre, Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health, National Council of Jewish Women, Positive Women Victoria, Pyjama Foundation, Road Trauma Support Services, St Vincent de Paul Society, Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, State Schools Relief, SuperFriend, Tolga Bat Rescue & Research Inc, Tomorrow Foundation, Variety – the Children’s Charity, WAYS Youth Services, Western Community Legal Centre, Zig Zag Young Women’s Resource Centre.

Notable cases

  • A six year legal fight for compensation for the Stolen Generations which, while ultimately unsuccessful, laid the basis for community recognition of the issue
  • Representing asylum seekers on the Norwegian freighter MV Tampa in 2001
  • A High Court case in 2010 establishing that asylum seekers held on Christmas Island (excised from Australia for the purposes of the Migration Act) were entitled to judicial review in Australian courts
  • Although parents represented by Holding Redlich lost a case claiming that provision of Special Religious Instruction in schools was discriminatory, the Victorian Department of Education responded by ensuring that parents make a positive election for their children to attend these classes, and ensuring meaningful activity for children not attending
  • Successful representation of two people with intellectual disabilities claiming equal pay for work in businesses operating primarily for disabled people as applies for people with similar disabilities in open employment
  • Acting for two traditional owners in Maningrida and the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation in a High Court challenge to some elements of the NT Intervention legislation; the case established that the traditional owners were entitled to compensation if their traditional property rights had been acquired by the Commonwealth and confirmed that the legislation did not terminate these rights

Key People

Guy Donovan | Melbourne




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