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Declaracion de trabajo Pro Bono para el continente americano

PRO BONO DECLARATION FOR THE AMERICAS

WHEREAS, access to justice and legal representation are essential to democratic
societies;

WHEREAS, the resources of government and of legal services organizations are
insufficient to satisfy the critical legal needs of poor and underprivileged persons
and communities, often leaving these needs unmet;

WHEREAS, consequently, not all members of society have meaningful access to
justice or effective legal representation, and this is especially the case for poor and
underprivileged persons and communities;

WHEREAS, the absence of access to justice and legal representation undermines
public confidence in governmental and judicial institutions and democracy;

WHEREAS, the legal profession has a privileged role and is uniquely positioned in
matters of justice and therefore has the duty, means and opportunity to promote a
fair and equitable legal system and respect for human and constitutional rights in
collaboration with the State, the judiciary and legal services organizations;

WHEREAS, traditions exist across the Americas and new efforts are underway in
several countries, including collaborations among bar associations, private and
public interest law firms, law schools, foundations, governmental actors and nongovernmental organizations, to address these pressing and unmet legal needs;

WHEREAS, a concerted movement across the Americas to promote access to justice
through pro bono work would strengthen commitments to democracy and public
service in the legal profession;

WE, the undersigned, solemnly declare our commitment to pro bono by stating as follows:

Members of the legal profession have a responsibility to provide pro bono legal
services. This responsibility stems from the profession’s role and purpose in society,
and from its implicit commitment to a fair and equitable legal system.

Pro bono is derived from the Latin phrase pro bono publico, which refers to actions
carried out “for the public good.”

For purposes of this Declaration, pro bono legal services are those provided without
a fee, or expectation of a fee, principally to benefit poor or underprivileged persons
or communities or the organizations that assist them.
They may include representation of persons, communities or organizations in matters of public interest who otherwise could not obtain effective representation. In addition, pro bono legal services can also benefit civic, cultural and educational institutions serving the
public interest who otherwise could not obtain effective representation.

Pro bono legal services should be provided with the same quality of representation
as services provided to paying clients, and in a manner upholding the applicable
ethical norms and standards.

Effective delivery of pro bono legal services requires cooperation among the
different actors in the legal profession – including bar associations, private and
public interest law firms, law schools, foundations, governmental actors and nongovernmental organizations.

WE, the undersigned, each in a manner consistent with our respective roles in the legal
profession, commit to:

Act to improve effective legal representation for poor or underprivileged persons
and communities;

Enhance widespread and effective access to justice and to legal services for persons
and communities who lack such access;

Provide, on a pro bono basis, more than 20 hours or three days of legal services per
individual lawyer per annum, or in the case of law firms, institutions or other groups
of lawyers, an average of more than 20 hours per lawyer per annum. This
commitment should be met within three years of endorsing this Declaration;

Strengthen the profession’s commitment to the provision and expansion of pro bono
legal services by emphasizing its importance and practice in legal education;

Support the establishment, development and operations of non‐governmental
organizations dedicated to the delivery of legal services in the public interest; and
Advocate and promote within the profession for the recognition and promotion of
pro bono legal services as part of lawyers´ ethical standards and obligations.

This Declaration is not intended to alter or supersede any existing legislation, resolution or
ethical code in any jurisdiction, firm or institution that is more conducive to the provision of pro bono legal services.


This Declaration will be effective from January 1, 2008.

 
 
Comisión de Trabajo Pro Bono e Interés Público. Mobile: +54 9 11 5486-6904
Montevideo 640 - Ciudad Autonoma de Bs. As. (C1019ABN) - Buenos Aires - Argentina
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