The University of Queensland TC Beirne School of Law’s Pro Bono Centre has received a prestigious Australian Award for University Teaching.
A representative for Federal Minister for Education and Training, the Honourable Simon Birmingham presented the Pro Bono Centre with an Award for Programs that Enhance Learning at a ceremony at Old Parliament House in Canberra on 1 December.
Pro Bono Centre Director Monica Taylor said her team was delighted to be recognised as a national leader, delivering structured law student pro bono work in close partnership with the legal profession.
“UQ is the only Australian university to coordinate and resource law student pro bono work,” she said.
“Our students assist community legal centres, law firms, barristers and community agencies and receive enormous educational benefits. They appreciate first-hand the impact of the law and apply their emerging legal skills to improve access to justice.
“Through the Pro Bono Centre, students also participate in law reform and policy research and deliver legal information sessions to secondary school students.”
Ms Taylor said this year more than 100 law students had undertaken pro bono legal activities in partnership with the profession across a diverse spectrum of legal issues.
Recent student projects include:
- assisting various legal groups to prepare submissions for a parliamentary inquiry into whether Queensland should legislate to introduce a statutory Human Rights Act
- researching the legal supports available for families appearing in coronial inquests
- working with a domestic violence organisation to develop a policy on ethical fundraising
- delivering a tenancy law clinic providing legal advice to vulnerable tenants at risk of losing their housing
- producing the only dedicated legal information factsheet currently available in Queensland addressing the sensitive issues that arise when a family member goes missing
- presenting at a regional Asia Pro Bono Conference in Myanmar
- conducting public interest environmental law research in Malaysian Borneo
- producing a paper on jury law reform on behalf of the Supreme Court of Tonga.
Head of School and Dean of Law Professor Sarah Derrington said TC Beirne School of Law encouraged students to think critically about the law and investigate its structures, principles, policies and values.
“UQ Pro Bono Centre nobly achieves this aim, contributes to the outstanding legal education offered by our school and enriches the student experience,” she said.
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