In 2009 hundreds of legal practitioners volunteered legal support and assistance through the Bushfire Legal Help Service to individuals, families and communities affected by the Victorian bushfires. A similar number provided assistance following the Queensland floods early in 2011.
In June 2011 the National Pro Bono Resource Centre published a paper entitled Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Planning for the Legal Profession in Australia. That paper was developed to assist the legal profession in each State to prepare a disaster response plan in readiness for any disasters occurring in their jurisdiction.
A Committee which includes representatives of the Legal Services Commission, South Australian Attorney-General’s Department, JusticeNet SA, the Central Community Legal Service and the Law Society of South Australia is developing an Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Plan for use in this State. Chris Boundy, Manager of Access Services, is the Chair of this Committee.
As part of its contribution to the plan, the Law Society is coordinating offers of legal assistance from individual practitioners and firms in preparing the response to be followed in the event of any such disaster. Once the register of volunteers has been created, it is anticipated that DisasterLegalHelp SA will be able to “roll out” the plan within 24 hours of any relevant disaster, identify from its register of appropriate legal practitioners and manage the legal response team – including any required attendance to the affected region.
If you are available to provide assistance please visit the Law Society of South Australia registration page when you click here.
Further information is also available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling Stephen Hodder, Law Society Executive Director, on telephone (08) 8229 0200.