2022 Asia Pro Bono Legal Community Roundtable


Following the success of the 2020 Asia Pro Bono Legal Community Roundtable, on 30 August 2022, PILnet partnered with UNHCR, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Global Refugee Forum Legal Community Pledge Core Group members, including the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (APNOR) to hold a second pro bono pitching roundtable; the 2022 Asia Pro Bono Legal Community Roundtable. The event took place online and brought NGOs and Refugee-led Organizations (RLOs) working in refugee rights together with over 30 legal actors interested in taking on pro bono projects to address the legal needs of refugees and others forcibly displaced

Nine NGOs/RLOs pitched thirteen pro bono projects at the Roundtable, presenting a broad range of pro bono opportunities, including direct assistance projects which sought volunteer lawyers to deliver direct assistance to forcibly displaced individuals and communities, including through the provision of legal information, counselling, or representation. There were also a range of research projects, involving both country-specific and comparative research, and projects calling for organizational legal support, to strengthen the governance or otherwise address the needs of organizations working with refugees and others forcibly displaced. 

In particular, projects pitched sought legal help with: 

  • Community sponsorship applications to Canada;
  • Asylum-and detention-related cases in Indonesia;
  • Direct representation of asylum-seekers in Hong Kong; 
  • Victims of trafficking and custody of Rohingya refugee children in Bangladesh;
  • Reopening of closed refugee applications in Thailand;
  • Domestic and international law on statelessness in Asia;
  • Drafting of governance documents for regional and global multi-stakeholder initiatives, as well as an Australian-based RLO; and
  • The registration of an Australian-based RLO as a charity. 

Following the Roundtable, PILnet has received considerable expressions of interest from law firms in the projects pitched and is now in the process of working with the NGOs/RLOs to match them with a suitable  pro bono provider and support the development of meaningful pro bono partnerships. 

In line with a growing interest globally by firms and NGOs in collaborative pro bono projects – which pair multiple law firms with specialist NGOs to provide direct legal assistance to refugees and others forcibly displaced – there was an overwhelming interest by firms in the direct assistance projects pitched. PILnet and other Core Group members are working with these NGOs and interested firms to scope collaborative pro bono projects, which would allow the NGOs  to harness the resources of multiple firms for the benefit of a wider range of asylum seekers or refugees.

If you are interested in knowing more about these projects or wish to provide pro bono support to other projects designed to increase access to rights, justice and solutions for refugees and others forcibly displaced, please contact us at [email protected]

If you want to pitch your own pro bono project to firms you can also reach out to us!