UQ Law students help shape the Asia pro bono movement

5 Dec 2017

By Bachelor of Arts/Laws students Clare Scrine and Jane Bowness.

In September this year, we had the pleasure of representing the UQ Pro Bono Centre at the 6th Annual Asia Pro Bono Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  The theme of the 2017 conference was ‘Strengthening Pro Bono Culture: Unity and Diversity’ and it was a truly collaborative and invigorating experience. Legal service providers including practitioners, students and academics converged from dozens of countries in Asia and beyond, from firms, universities, NGOs and other organisations.

Over three days, we had the opportunity to learn about pro bono work from entirely new perspectives, and put our experience as students and volunteers in Australia into the global context. We made connections and forged meaningful friendships with numerous people, and expanded our understanding of what pro bono work means to people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds.

"We were re-inspired by the community supporting the pro bono movement in Asia and we hope to bring this spirit and sense of reinvigoration home to fuel our further pro bono efforts."

A real highlight (aside from the endless incredible food), was the opportunity to collaborate and facilitate a workshop with other pro bono students from the University of Malaya and the National University of Singapore. The aim of our workshop was to build an international student network to enable pro bono-minded students to connect, share ideas and inspire each other. During our one-hour workshop, we all shared our diverse experiences of being pro bono students, and facilitated small group discussions with the participants. By the conclusion of the session we had decided on the format of our network, exactly what it will look like and our goals for its development into the future. 

The Asia Pro Bono Conference was an experience that allowed us to reflect on how privileged we are as UQ students to have a strong pro bono culture within our Law School. It also enabled us to realise the potential for the skills we have developed through our work with the Centre to be applied in both our own community and the international context. While the pursuit of access to justice is a challenging one, with seemingly endless hurdles to overcome, we were re-inspired by the community supporting the pro bono movement in Asia and we hope to bring this spirit and sense of reinvigoration home to fuel our further pro bono efforts.

Read more about the Asia Pro Bono Conference.

Click images to enlarge:

  • Asia Pro Bono Conference students
    6th Asia Pro Bono Conference law student delegates including UQ students Clare Scrine and Jane Bowness (third & fourth from left)
  • Clare Scrine conducting a pro bono workshop
    UQ student Clare Scrine conducting a pro bono workshop
  • Jane Bowness conducting a pro bono workshop
    UQ student Jane Bowness conducting a pro bono workshop

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