13 December 2012

The Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, the Arts Law Centre of Australia and the Queensland Association of Independent Legal Services are among the organisations that have benefitted from support provided by The University of Queensland's Pro Bono Centre in 2012.

Over the course of the year the UQ Pro Bono Centre matched 79 UQ law students with 16 law firms and community organisations seeking pro bono assistance with local projects.

UQ Pro Bono Centre Director Monica Taylor has praised the efforts and achievements of the law students who undertaken pro bono legal work for the community during 2012.

“It is a privilege to watch law students apply their intellect, passion and legal skills to help further access to justice for marginalised members of our community,” Ms Taylor said.

“The fact that so many students have dedicated their time this year for no academic reward – for the public good – is heartening.

“Pro bono work is a core value of the legal profession. Through their work with the UQ Pro Bono Centre, our students are upholding an honourable tradition of their profession.

“The strength of students’ pro bono commitment is evidenced by their work in a number of areas, including legal research and writing."

Pro bono activities undertaken by students through the UQ Pro Bono Centre ‘Roster’ do not attract academic credit but provide students with practical work experience, exposure to legal professionals and the chance to volunteer their skills for the benefit of the community.

Law student Jasmine Ross who attended the Children’s Court with the South West Brisbane CLC Child Protection Duty Lawyer Service thanked the Pro Bono Centre for providing her with a valuable learning opportunity.

“I was privileged to learn from Terry Stedman, an Indigenous lawyer who encouraged and assisted me to acquire the legal skills required in court,” Ms Ross said.

“Terry inspired me to develop a strong interest in child protection work and provided me with great exposure to marginalised communities.”

Pro Bono research papers produced in 2012 by UQ Law students for community organisations have covered a variety of contemporary legal issues.

Under the supervision of environmental law expert Dr Justine Bell, law students Julian Bodenmann, Matthew Cameron, Kathryn O’Hare and Emma-Rose Solomon researched and authored a paper for the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties (QCCL) on the rights of landholders to prevent access to their land by mining companies.

Their paper is in response to Australia’s resource boom and its adverse impacts on landholders and farmers as resource tenures are often granted over land previously used for farming purposes.

The Queensland Council for Civil Liberties is a voluntary organisation that aims to protect individual rights and civil liberties. Its activities include public awareness raising initiatives and making submissions to governments and authorities regarding threats to, and the abuse of, rights and liberties.

Students Joanna Lane, Breeanna Jeffs, Jessica Thrower & Paris Astill-Torchia examined the relationship between privacy and freedom of speech in their annotated bibliography of the proposed statutory tort of privacy for the QCCL, under the supervision of UQ Law Professor Kit Barker.

Also produced for the QCCL was a paper by Brigette Garbin and Kelly Staunton on the background and legislative status of 'Do Not Track' legal initiatives.

Under the supervision of privacy law expert Dr Mark Burdon, the students examined privacy concerns and the response to the issue of online behavioural profiling using individuals’ web browsing activities.

A paper for the Arts Law Centre of Australia on the regulation of prisoner's art provided an overview of the legislative and policy position on the ability of prisoners to create and sell artwork within correctional facilities, and if so, how and when the proceeds could be used, if at all.

The paper was researched and authored by students Alison Black and Elizabeth Clare under the supervision of Associate Professor Peter Billings.

To access a complete list of the UQ Pro Bono Centre’s publications, including those produced by students involved in the Centre’s Manning Street Project, visit http://www.law.uq.edu.au/pro-bono-publications

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