In 2017, with support from, Justice Connect’s digital innovation program of work commenced. Since 2017, our work has grown in scope and sophistication, with a range of products now completed and in wide use.  



Pro Bono Portal deployed in Hong Kong, Germany, and the Philippines
Following successful implementation, our Pro Bono Portal was deployed in three additional jurisdictions. 


Firm Manager 
After the successful rollout and adoption of our Pro Bono Portal, conversations with stakeholders evolved to include discussions of potential adaptations of the Portal for broader use. One project that emerged was Firm Manager, a project to extend the Pro Bono Portal platform to provide a solution for law firms to manage the often unwieldy work of internal pro bono teams.   

AI intake integration 
Following the training of our AI natural language processor, we integrated the model into our Intake Tool to assist people with identifying their legal problem in real-time.  

AI fairness project 
Following the rollout of our AI project, preliminary analysis by the University of Melbourne team has identified that our model performs less successfully for some groups. In particular, we have found the model performs the worst for language samples from people identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and older people.  

We are currently gathering a collection of language samples from diverse and marginalised communities to train our model to work consistently across demographics, to ensure it can help people from all walks of life.  


COVID-19 response  
We launched a series of online legal assistance products to respond to community needs emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Dear Landlord, our online self-help tool, was relaunched to help stop avoidable evictions into homelessness, by guiding renters who were behind on rent through their options.  

Portal 2.0 design upgrade 
Following a full release of the Portal, we developed a second release to increase the visual appeal of the platform and add further data, analytics, and views for users of the platform.  

Global Pro Bono Project starts 
After receiving many inquiries, we undertook extensive research across the world to better understand the interest in, and need for, expanding our Pro Bono Portal into other jurisdictions. We concluded that there was significant appetite and potential for making the Portal available internationally.  

We partnered with a range of international organisations, and received generous funding from a UK-based foundation to support a three-year project that will see the Portal progressively rolled out in various jurisdictions, at no cost to the international hosting organisations.   

Joining Up Justice 
The Joining Up Justice project is focusing on creating better experiences of searching for legal help by designing strategies to improve the legal assistance service ecosystem.  

As part of the project, we mapped out the legal help journey into an interactive journey map to identify issue areas and opportunities for improvements from both the organisation’s and individual’s perspective.   

Pro Bono Portal deployed in UK, Ireland, and New Zealand 
Following our research, we deployed our Pro Bono Portal in three international jurisdictions.  

CLCs on the Portal pilot 
Since the pilot and full launch of the Pro Bono Portal, we identified the potential for the Portal to connect Community Legal Centres (CLCs) and people with unmet legal needs with pro bono help. Our focus is now on building functionality to support CLCs on the Portal to bring this potential to life.  

Digital consumer outreach program 
Recognising the need to provide online legal assistance products at scale, we launched a cross-functional program using consumer-focused online marketing and outreach strategies to increase our reach.  


Pro Bono Portal full launch 
After a successful five-month pilot and iteration period, we onboarded a second tranche of firms for a full launch of the Portal. After a successful release, we started to see the impacts of the Portal on the people and community organisations that we assist, with our referral numbers increasing and our referral processes becoming smoother for staff, pro bono lawyers, and importantly, our clients.  

Self-help resource hub launches 
Our self-help resource hub is an online library of plain language legal information designed to empower people to learn about their rights and take steps to address their legal problem.  

Bushfire response 
Following the 2019 bushfires, our Pro Bono Portal played a central role in the legal sector’s response. We facilitated a broad cross-sector response by permitting non-member firms to use the Pro Bono Portal for the purposes of accepting referrals of matters related to the disasters.  

In addition to the 50 firms already using the Portal in January 2020, we onboarded a further 110 firms, predominantly in bushfire-affected rural and regional areas.  

Artificial intelligence (AI) project launches 
We recognise that people often struggle to accurately articulate their legal problem. In response, we developed and trained a natural language processing AI model to diagnose legal problems within people’s everyday language.   


Referrer Tool launches 
Our online Referrer Tool allows sector colleagues to check whether a person they are assisting is likely to be eligible for a Justice Connect service, and then make a simple, online warm referral to connect that person with legal assistance quickly. 

Pro Bono Portal pilot launches 
Our Pro Bono Portal is designed to make the pro bono matching process easier for law firms.  

Following detailed research with our 50 member firms and staff, we launched a Pro Bono Portal pilot with 14 Australian firms.  


Intake Tool launches 

Our Intake Tool has revolutionised the way we take on and triage new matters online. Since its launch, we conducted an evaluation further work to refine the tool technically and to reflect Justice Connect’s service delivery landscape is currently underway.  


Gateway Project starts 
With funding from, we commenced our ambitious Gateway Project, aiming to scale our impact through building technology-driven products and processes to support our work increasing access to justice.  

The cornerstone products, built by our in-house Innovation Team are our Intake Tool, our Referrer Tool, and our Pro Bono Portal.  



Our digital innovation work has been widely recognised as leading the field 


Google Impact Challenge

Gateway Project

Learn more about our innovation project areas

Our multidisciplinary team works on projects that aim to increase access to justice with a focus on: