11 July 2012

The Director of The University of Queensland Pro Bono Centre at the TC Beirne School of Law has expressed disappointment and regret at recent State Government funding cuts to the Environmental Defenders Offices in Brisbane and Cairns.

“The EDO is the only community legal centre in Queensland that provides specialist advice and public interest advocacy on environmental legal issues,” UQ Pro Bono Centre Director Ms Monica Taylor said.

“We regard the EDO as a vital agency doing important work in the public interest.”

The UQ Pro Bono Centre links experienced law student volunteers from the TC Beirne School of Law with community legal centres seeking assistance in their pro bono activities.

This month, the UQ Pro Bono Centre and the EDO are partnering to provide clinical placements for law students at the EDO.

“Law student interest in environmental issues is extremely strong at UQ, with high enrolments in our environmental law elective courses,” Ms Taylor said.

“We are partnering with the community legal sector to develop dynamic learning opportunities for our students in a clinical legal setting.

“Engaging in public interest and pro bono legal work is a core part of a well-rounded legal education.

“Without organisations like the EDO, not only the environment but our profession as a whole would be far worse off,” Ms Taylor said.

"Certainly from our perspective, defunding the EDO has consequences for our Centre’s ability to expand our clinical legal education program for experienced law students.”

Media contact: Ms Monica Taylor, Director, UQ Pro Bono Centre, TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland (07) 3365 6192 0431 866 344.

Alternative contact: Mr Paul O’Shea, Lecturer, TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland (07) 3365 6614 and 0424 979 776