International pro bono service provision REGISTRATION & FUNDING GUIDELINES

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Provide Pro Bono


What is international pro bono legal work?

The CAPPB uses the following definition of international pro bono legal work:

‘pro bono legal work focussed outside of Australia, and in response to both need and disadvantage within a recipient country. It may include the provision of direct legal advice and representation, assistance with law reform or other systemic legal issues, legal training and education, and judicial assistance. The provision of international pro bono legal work by the legal community can contribute to positively to access to justice.’

What is the Centre for Asia Pacific Pro Bono?

Housed within the Law Council of Australia Secretariat, the Centre for Asia Pacific Pro Bono (CAPPB) was established to coordinate requests from the Asia-Pacific region for pro bono assistance by Australian legal practitioners and law practices. The CAPPB aims to:

1. Contribute to good governance and democracy in the Asia-Pacific.
2. Assist inthe development of sustainable pro bono partnerships in the Asia-Pacific.
3. Promote the rule of law and improve access to justice in the Asia-Pacific.
4. Provide Australian lawyers opprtunities to offer international pro bono assistance.
5. Build capacity and capability in legal systems in the Asia-Pacific.


Who can register as a pro bono service provider?


  • any Australian law practice;
  • any Australian current or retired legal practitioner (must provide evidence of admission); or
  • any individual or entity that can demonstrate its capacity to provide international pro bono legal services.



The CAPPB values feedback from pro bono recipients and providers on the service of the CAPPB. Recipients and providers are encouraged to provide feedback on the Project Completion Report. The CAPPB Secretariat can also be contacted at any time to discuss the CAPPB’s services.

Complaints & disputes

If either recipients or providers of international pro bono legal services experience a dispute or are unhappy with the pro bono services provided, the CAPPB Secretariat can be contacted and it will endeavour to help project partners come to a reasonable agreement. However, the CAPPB is only responsible for matching eligible pro bono projects with eligible providers. It is not responsible for the outcomes of the project, nor resolving any disputes that may arise from the partnership.


Limited disbursement funding for approved pro bono projects may be available on a case-by-case basis.

What is the CAPPB Disbursement Fund?

A Disbursement Fund was established as part of the administration of the CAPPB to assist individuals and organisations in Australia with the associated costs of providing pro bono legal work in developing Asia-Pacific countries. Expenses such as travel, accommodation and insurance can be claimed for reimbursement following the presentation of receipts. The CAPPB Disbursement Fund is capped at $75,000 a year. When the total has been fully committed, no further funding will be available until the following financial year.

Who is eligible for disbursements?

Once registered individuals and organisations have been matched with an eligible pro bono project, pro bono providers are eligible to apply for disbursement funding.

What kinds of projects may be eligible for disbursement funding?

A proposed pro bono project may be eligible for disbursement funding if it:

  • meets at least one of the following criteria:
    - builds capacity and capability in legal systems; or
    - contributes to good governance and democracy;or
    - promotes knowledge of the rule of law and respect for human rights;or
    - provides advice or legal representation by experts not available in the applicant country; and
  • pro bono providers have exhausted all other possible sources of funding.


How much disbursement funding is available?

The CAPPB will provide reimbursements for up to AU$5000 per pro bono project. Pro bono providers may subsequently request the CAPPB to reimburse an amount greater than the approved costs. The CAPPB will consider these requests, but is under no obligation to pay above the approved funding agreement.

What costs may be reimbursed?

The following costs necessarily incurred in carrying out approved international pro bono projects are eligible for reimbursement:

  • economy airfares;
  • reasonably priced accommodation in the country/region while undertaking the pro bono project (see CAPPB accommodation allowance rates);
  • a moderate living allowance (see CAPPB per diem allowance rates)
  • visa costs
  • travel insurance (including medical cover); and
  • insurance reasonably required to provide pro bono assistance.

Please note that costs for food and beverages are not claimable. Disbursement funding is also not available for litigation costs, however, costs associated with pro bono legal services outside the litigation process, such as expert reports, may be eligible on a case-by-case basis.

Can I reapply for pro bono funding from the CAPPB Disbursement fund for future projects?

Providers may reapply for disbursement funding for future projects. However, allocation of such funding is subject to the same approval process outlined below. Funding applicants are only permitted to make one funding application per project. Pro bono providers may subsequently request the CAPPB to reimburse an amount greater than the approved costs. The CAPPB will consider these requests on a case-by-case basis, but is under no obligation to pay above the approved funding agreement.

Registration & assessment process

Registration process

1. Complete and submit a Provide Pro Bono Registration Form and email it to the CAPPB Secretariat.

2. The CAPPB Secretariat will review your application and match the expertise of you/the organisation with pro bono requests from the Asia-Pacific as they arise.

3. Once an appropriate project has been matched, you will be notified by email. If you agree to the proposal and if international travel is required to carry out the project, you will need to complete and submit a Funding Request Form (funding applications with anticipated costs exceeding $10,000 will be considered by the CAPPB Secondary Assessment Panel). If approved, the provider will be reimbursed for the expenses after completing the project and submitting a Reimbursement Form and Summary of Expenses Template with receipts/tax invoices and any other relevant supporting documentation.

4. The pro bono provider must complete and submit a Project Completion Form to the CAPPB no later than six weeks after the pro bono project period has ended.

Assessment process

The CAPPB Secretariat reviews all applications for pro bono assistance and matches it with an appropriate provider. The approval of the matched project is then determined by the Secretary-General and/or the Deputy Secretary-General of the Law Council of Australia. Where a project and/or provider requires further clearance, the matter will be forwarded to a Secondary Assessment Panel comprising:

  • a member of the Attorney-General’s Financial Assistance Section;
  • the Secretary-General of the Law Council of Australia; and
  • the Chair of the Law Council’s International Law Section.