Media Release – Nominations urged for Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards

20Sep2021

In recognition of Bar members’ dedication to pro bono work, the Bar is again calling for nominations for the biennial Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards.

Members of the Victorian Bar donate thousands of hours of their time to a wide range of humanitarian and social causes.

Victorian Bar President, Christopher Blanden QC, said the awards recognised the outstanding pro bono work undertaken by members.

“The awards highlight the Bar’s strong commitment to equality of access to justice,” he said.

“I encourage all members of the legal profession to nominate any barrister who is making an outstanding contribution to society by representing parties on a pro bono basis.”

The next Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards will be presented in March 2023.

In a change from previous practice, nominations have opened 18 months in advance  to encourage more applications and to allow additional time for nominations to be prepared and submitted.

The awards recognise a diverse range of pro bono dedication and commitment through the following categories:

  • Victorian Bar Pro Bono Trophy – For outstanding individual achievement in pro bono advocacy over a long period.
  • Daniel Pollak Readers Award – For pro bono advocacy undertaken by barristers who have completed their Readers' Course within the previous two years.
  • Ron Castan AM QC Award – For pro bono advocacy undertaken by barristers who are between two and six years' call.
  • Susan Crennan AC QC Award – For pro bono advocacy undertaken by barristers who are between seven and 15-years' call but are not Silks.
  • Ron Merkel QC Award – For pro bono advocacy undertaken by barristers who are more than 15 years' call or Silks.
  • Public Interest/Justice Innovation Award – For outstanding achievement in pro bono advocacy which has a strong public interest element or has involved a procedural or substantive innovation in the law likely to enhance access to justice.
  • Debbie Mortimer S.C. Award – For outstanding achievement in pro bono advocacy in a Tribunal or the Magistrates' Court.
  • Uncle Jim Berg Award – For outstanding achievement in pro bono advice or advocacy that enhances access to justice for First Nations clients either nationally or in Victoria.
  • Equality Award – For outstanding achievement in pro bono advocacy that furthers the rights or interests of a disadvantaged and/or minority group. This includes racial or religious minorities, homeless people, people with a disability, refugees, prisoners, LGBTIQA+ people, and women.
  • Pro Bono Team Excellence Award – For outstanding achievement in pro bono advocacy by a team of at least three barristers.

Additional information and nomination forms are available here.

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