On the 26th of April, CELCOR had two visitors from the University of Queensland’s Pro Bono Center.
Mrs Monica Taylor and Mrs Bridget Burton, Director and Assistant Director of UQ’s Pro Bono Center respectively, visited CELCOR and identified CELCOR’s legal internship program and public interest practice as areas they would like to collaborate on. Through this collaboration, CELCOR’s legal interns and UQ interns will share information, do research together and learn from each other.
The collaborative arrangement will be stipulated in the form of an MOU where UQ’s law students will provide support on specific research topics that CELCOR’s interns may not have time to do. The MOU will also pave way for exchange programs between CELCOR and UQ interns.
Monica and Bridget also paid a visit to UPNG’s law school where they intend to partner with them on the internships program and encourage students to take up environmental law and develop an interest in protecting the environment.
Meanwhile CELCOR’s Executive Director Peter Bosip, pointed out that UPNG Law School needs to have a Pro Bono program to encourage law graduates to practice and/or provide support in public interest initiatives. For example, lawyers or barristers in private law firms to provide legal assistance to organizations like CELCOR without charging any or hefty legal fees. Currently there is no Pro Bono work being practiced openly in PNG.
The UQ Pro Bono Centre was established in 2009 with the purpose of developing partnerships with Community Legal Centres and the legal profession to give UQ Law students the opportunity to use their emerging legal skills pro bono publico: for the public good.
Students who dedicate their time through Pro Bono Centre projects do not receive academic credit for their work. They benefit by developing their legal research and writing skills and practical understanding of the law, while helping to further access to justice for margnalised members of the community.