Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards


Call for Nominations for the 2023 Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards

Nominations are now open for the next Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards. Nominations may be made using the nomination form here.

The Victorian Bar has a proud culture and tradition of providing pro bono assistance, which gives vulnerable members of the community the opportunity to access justice and pursue their rights under Australian law.

The Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards recognise barristers who make an outstanding contribution representing parties on a pro bono basis.

The next Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards Ceremony is scheduled for March 2023. In a change from previous practice, nominations for the next Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards will now open approximately 18 months in advance. 

Usually, the call for nominations occurs for a limited period before the ceremony. However, nominations for the 2023 awards are now open from September 2021 to November 2022.

This change to the period in which nominations are open will enable a greater number of nominations and will permit members and court personnel, who have knowledge of the great pro bono work done in our courts and tribunals, to immediately recognise outstanding pro bono activities by submitting a nomination as and when the work occurs.

If you are aware of barristers who are making an outstanding contribution representing parties on a pro bono basis, please consider making nominations throughout the nomination period.

The short video below features the Honourable Chris Maxwell AC, President of the Victorian Court of Appeal, explaining how pro bono assistance provided by barristers makes a difference to vulnerable people in our community.

The Pro Bono Committee is grateful to Michael Rivette, barrister and past Deputy Chair of the Pro Bono Committee and past Chair of the Communications Committee, for all his hard work in creating this excellent video.

The award categories for the Victorian Bar Pro Bono Awards are:

  • 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.

Nominations are open now. Nominations may be made using the nomination form here.