Institutionalizing Pro Bono: Lessons, Challenges and Rewards

13.30 – 15.00 | 16 September

Room: Diamond

Accessibility to justice and its institutions is a crucial requirement for any society. Right to justice is a fundamental right- and the cornerstone of any democratic society that believes in the rule of law. Not only is it essential that the rule of law exists, accessibility to legal recourse is also paramount. For instance, in India alone, more than 30 million cases are pending in front of various courts. The situation is similar in a number of countries of the region. This is only the tip of the iceberg, as a number of NGOs and development organisations also are in dire need of legal assistance to clear this backlog as well as to have systems in place to facilitate and encourage legal assistance. Additionally, with increasing reliance on technology and globalisation, the regulatory framework, including for Non Government Organisations is becoming increasingly bureaucratic and requires specialised legal knowledge to comply.  

Recent years have seen an increase in encouragement of pro bono by various quarters.  Many countries and Bar Councils have or are contemplating making it mandatory for lawyers to provide pro bono legal support. The Governments are also encouraging pro bono services to facilitate access to justice. Firms also seem to have dedicated practices for pro bono. Nonetheless, the demand for pro bono outstrips the supply. This presents a challenge but also an opportunity to assess and support systematic pro bono assistance as provided by legal professionals.  

This session presents an interactive panel of experts from various sections of the pro bono landscape.  The idea is to discuss structures of pro bono and how it can be made into a systematic part of work that lawyers do. We will discuss the challenges, opportunities and present case studies to illustrate the value of institutionalising pro bono.