Many of our public interest law clients are tackling deeply ingrained social barriers and obstacles that they seek to overcome through implementation of long-term visions. We are committed to each client and each project undertaken, no matter how long the journey or how hard the path to achieve the desired outcomes.
We have represented the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal Nation since 1993 in their native title determination efforts and well beyond. After decades of legal setbacks, we remain steadfast in our commitment to support the Yorta Yorta peoples and communities like them in their struggles for justice.
Our approach to public interest law
Our public interest law services are co-ordinated through a dedicated public interest law practice that is both well-known and widely respected by the legal, business and not-for-profit sectors. The way in which we manage the public interest law practice and deliver services to the community is as important as the work itself.
During the 2016 financial year, lawyers at ABL collectively carried out 7,895 hours of pro-bono, public interest law work, valued at approximately $4.3 million. This equates to an average for each ABL lawyer of 71 hours of pro-bono legal services each year, more than double the voluntary target of 35 hours per lawyer set by the Australian Pro-Bono Centre. We are very proud of the fact we have maintained approximately the same ‘double the national target’ average consistently for well over a decade.
At ABL, there is no distinction between paid and non-paid work. As with other practice areas, the public interest law practice is managed by a full-time partner. Peter Seidel, who heads this practice area, is also board member of the Wantok Musik Foundation.
The practice draws together lawyers from relevant disciplines across the firm, including corporate, dispute resolution and taxation law.
Native title and land rights
ABL’s native title and land rights practice offers advice to some of the most vulnerable communities in the country. Our practice assists with determination applications, development negotiations, Indigenous Land Use Agreements, negotiating and drafting associated documents (including trust deeds, rules, powers of attorney, constitutions and the like), seeking tax concession for groups, establishing corporate structures and providing related legislative and policy advice.
The firm has resolved several potential disputes to ensure co-existent land uses and interests and mediated outcomes that are satisfactory to all. Our ongoing involvement with various Indigenous entities and peoples has afforded the firm invaluable knowledge of the commercial and litigious aspects of native title, land rights and related Indigenous issues.