About PILCH

PILCH is a leading Victorian, not-for-profit organisation which is committed to furthering the public interest, improving access to justice and protecting human rights. PILCH does this by facilitating the provision of pro bono legal services and undertaking law reform, policy work and legal education.

In carrying out its mission, PILCH specifically seeks to address disadvantage and marginalisation in the community, to effect structural change to address injustice, to foster a strong pro bono culture in Victoria and to increase the pro bono capacity of the legal profession.

Objectives

In carrying out its mission, PILCH specifically seeks to:

  • improve access to justice and the legal system for those who are disadvantaged or marginalised
  • identify matters of public interest requiring legal assistance
  • seek redress in matters of public interest for those who are disadvantaged or marginalised
  • refer individuals, community groups and not for profit organisations to lawyers in private practice and to others in ancillary or related fields willing to provide their services without charge
  • support and enhance community organisations in pursuing the interests of the communities they seek to represent, and
  • encourage, foster and support the work and expertise of the legal profession in pro bono and/or public interest law.

Values

PILCH is committed to the following values:

  • providing a responsive, effective and professional service to its members and the community
  • acting with integrity and fairness at all times
  • treating all people equally and with dignity and respect
  • innovation and creativity in pro bono

Services

PILCH acts as a facilitator or go-between for pro bono legal assistance between the community and the private legal profession. Its main role is to receive, assess and refer requests for pro bono legal assistance. PILCH aims to work creatively to match clients with lawyers willing to give their services without charge.

PILCH coordinates the delivery of pro bono legal services through:

  • the Referral Scheme (encompassing the Victorian Bar Pro Bono Scheme (VBPBS) and the Law Institute of Victoria Legal Assistance Scheme (LIVLAS))
  • the Homeless Persons' Legal Clinic (HPLC)
  • PILCH Connect - a specialist service for community organisations
  • the Seniors Rights Legal Clinic (SRLC)

PILCH assists individual clients who satisfy legal merits and means tests and who are ineligible for legal aid by referring them to a solicitor or barrister who acts for the client on a pro bono basis.

Not-for-profit organisations with public interest objectives, or which provide services that are in the public interest, are also eligible for assistance through the Public Interest Law Scheme or PilchConnect, a specialist service that provides legal and legally-related information, advocacy and advice to community organisations. PILCH aims to support and enhance the work done for, and on behalf, of the community by such organisations, which typically function with limited resources, by providing access to quality legal services.

The HPLC is a specialist legal service that provides free legal assistance and advocacy to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Legal assistance is provided by pro bono lawyers at 11 homelessness assistance services in and around metropolitan Melbourne to facilitate direct access by clients and to provide a service that works closely and collaboratively with other homeless service providers.

The SRLC is the outreach service of Seniors Rights Victoria, a specialist legal and advocacy service for older Victorians experiencing elder abuse. The SRLC provides free legal assistance to older Victorians who are unable to afford a private lawyer. The clinics are co-located with health services at four sites across metropolitan Melbourne to ensure close proximity to existing services for older people.

PILCH is also co-located with the Human Rights Law Resource Centre, Australia's first specialist human rights legal service, which was jointly established by PILCH and Liberty Victoria in 2006. Visit - Web Link Icon www.hrlrc.org.au for more information about the Centre.

Membership

PILCH is an innovative collaboration of private law firms, corporate legal departments, the Victorian Bar, the Law Institute of Victoria, community legal centres and university law schools. Members support PILCH in a variety of ways including financial and ‘in kind' support and through participation in our pro bono legal assistance schemes.

Find out more about PILCH membership under Get Involved.

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