8667.0 - Legal Services, Australia, 2007-08 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/06/2009   
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Legal aid

Historical comparisons

Non-sampling error


The estimated value of pro bono work undertaken by barrister and other legal services businesses during the 2007-08 financial year was $238.2m. Other legal services businesses accounted for the majority of the this amount (78.7% or $187.4m).

Of the estimated value of pro bono work, 11.2% (or $26.6m) was from work undertaken in providing free community education and/or law reform. The remainder was from the provision of pro bono legal services.

Qualified legal staff spent an estimated 955,400 hours in undertaking pro bono work during the 2007-08 financial year. The majority of this time was spent on clients other than community legal centres (84.8% or 810,200 hours).


During the 2007-08 financial year, it is estimated that qualified legal staff spent 2,142,400 hours undertaking work on matters referred by legal aid commissions.


The reader should bear in mind that this survey was not designed to support accurate estimates of change over time. Due to changes in the frame, scope and statistical unit, users should exercise caution when comparing the 2007-08 results with the 2001-02 results, and previous iterations of this survey.

The definition of pro bono work was refined for the 2007-08 survey to make it clearer to respondents what pro bono activity the survey wanted to measure. For this survey, pro bono legal work was defined as the provision of legal advice, representation or services by legally qualified staff, either free of charge or at a substantially reduced rate. For the purposes of the ABS survey, pro bono activity did not include work undertaken on behalf of, or remunerated by legal aid commissions or other government departments.

Further information on historical comparisons can be found in the Technical Note on historical comparisons.

The collection of pro bono and legal aid data is subject to non-sampling error, as barristers and other legal services businesses generally did not maintain accurate records of pro bono work and legal aid. Users are therefore advised to exercise caution when using these figures.