We’re connecting bushfire affected farmers and small businesses in NSW with free legal help
18 Nov 2020
Justice Connect is providing free legal help to small businesses, farmers and primary producers across New South Wales.
With help from a recently announced Commonwealth support package, we’re connecting bushfire affected small businesses across New South Wales with free legal help.
To ensure more people get the legal help they need to recover, we’re connecting eligible small business owners or farmers to our network of 10,000 pro bono lawyers through their our award-winning Pro Bono Portal.
Justice Connect CEO Chris Povey said, “We know that the wellbeing of communities is intrinsically linked with the wellbeing of the small businesses in those communities.”
“Our network of pro bono lawyers has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to assisting communities to recover from the 2019-2020 bushfires.”
“We want to make sure that the legal problems that small businesses and farms are facing now are resolved, and that we can connect them with firms based locally in those communities wherever possible.”
Legal problems related to bushfires can arise months into the recovery process. Often, these legal problems include issues around insurance, debt, contracts and tenancy. Getting legal help can be expensive, but it is crucial to solving or preventing legal problems and helping communities on their pathway to recovery.
We’re using our Commonwealth funding to make a suite of upgrades to our Pro Bono Portal and online intake systems. These upgrades will ensure small businesses in NSW can access free legal help at a critical time in their community’s recovery. Our Pro Bono Portal played a key role in supporting the pro bono response to the bushfires in Victoria and NSW earlier in 2020.
This project will make sure that those in need of legal support are efficiently and seamlessly connected with specialist pro bono resources. 160 firms are now using the Pro Bono Portal to be matched with people, community groups and small business needing legal help.
The same funding package is also supporting Legal Aid NSW and Financial Rights Legal Centre to provide assistance to small businesses in bushfire affected communities. We’re working closely with these organisations to ensure a joined-up response.
Our Pro Bono Portal was initially developed by Justice Connect’s innovation team through our Gateway Project. Now, it has been operating in Australia for over 12 months. Since its launch, we’ve posted over 1000 pro bono opportunities and onboarded over 160 law firms across Australia.
How to apply
If you’re a small businesses, farmer or primary producer who has been affected by the bushfires, you can apply for free legal help online.