28 November 2012

A spring clean by academics from The University of Queensland Law School has led to a donation of forty legal textbooks to the Prisoners’ Legal Service (PLS) in Brisbane.

PLS Coordinator/solicitor Matilda Alexander said the generous donation would provide enormous assistance to self-representing prisoners and prisoner representatives who were appointed to assist other prisoners with legal matters.

“Many prisoners, like law students, struggle to understand the legal system,” Ms Alexander said.

“However, unlike law students, prisoners are forced to rely on an outdated library with no access to the internet.

“This donation will assist these prisoners in accessing resources that are relevant and useful.

“The lack of resources in prison means a relevant textbook may lead to the identification of a meritorious case, which will save the courts time and enhance justice more broadly.”

The Prisoners’ Legal Service, Inc. (PLS) is a community legal centre, which provides free legal advice, information and assistance to incarcerated persons and their families on matters relating to imprisonment.

Presently there are about 5,500 prisoners in correctional centres throughout the State and thousands more on parole or other forms of supervision.

Based in South Brisbane, the PLS provides services across Queensland in addition to monitoring the effects of the State’s prisons administration and law reform on prisoners and the public interest.

The PLS relies on volunteers to assist in the provision of legal advice so it offers opportunities for law students to acquire knowledge and practical experience in social justice issues and prison law by participating in clinical legal education programs such as those run by the UQ Pro Bono Centre.

The UQ Pro Bono Centre’s Prisoner Law Clinic is one of a number of clinics offered each semester to provide students with work experience in a legal setting for academic credit.

Students spend one day per week during semester undertaking legal work supervised by lawyers.

The clinics run from the Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House (QPILCH), Caxton Legal Centre and the Environmental Defender's Office.

Last month the Prisoners’ Legal Service was named Administrative Law Firm of the Year in Australia in the 2012 Corporate INTL Legal Awards.

The annual global awards recognise organisations, which demonstrate excellence in expertise and service delivery.


Monica Taylor, Director, UQ Pro Bono Centre, TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland (07) 3365 6192 / 0431 866 344, m.taylor@law.uq.edu.au

Melissa Reynolds, TC Beirne School of Law 07 3365 2523, m.reynolds@law.uq.edu.au