Commitment to Pro Bono
At Nicholes Family Lawyers we believe in the right to equitable access to justice for everyone and thus we are committed to a culture that supports the undertaking of pro bono work and other similar initiatives for the community. All our staff are encouraged to be involved in our pro bono and community activities within the firm and the wider community.
Our pro bono work is diverse and we assist a number of not for profit organisations, foundations and aid organisations locally, nationally and internationally. We are currently working with WIRE, Justice Connect, Royal Children’s Hospital, The Alfred “Help Patient Clinic”, Children’s Rights International, The Lasallian Foundation, Project Respect, and World Congress on Family Law & Children’s Rights.
Investing in community
The Lasallian Foundation
The Lasallian Foundation supports projects throughout the Asia-Pacific region that provide poor and disadvantaged children with an opportunity to break the poverty cycle. Nicholes Family Lawyers have sponsored various corporate activities to promote the works of the Lasallian Foundation including film nights and Christmas Fundraising Nights. Sally Nicholes is the Acting Chair of this Foundation.
Established in 2004 by the De La Salle Brothers of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, it’s the latest in a series of innovative projects across Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan.
The Foundation’s main beneficiaries are children in the most impoverished situations who are affected by AIDS, lack of access to education, lack of basic amenities – and often living with no parents.
The driving force behind the Foundation is Brother Paul Smith, founder of Kids Helpline and now CEO of the Lasallian Foundation. (Kids Helpline operates through a toll-free number to provide qualified psychologists, who answer calls from distressed children Australia wide.)
Projects vary widely, but recent achievements include the construction of schools and orphanages, the provision of wells, pumping and sanitation equipment, and tsunami relief.
World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights
The 1st World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights was launched in Sydney in July 1993, after three years of work initiated by the Honourable Justice Rodney K. Burr AM and Sydney solicitor Stuart Fowler. Sally Nicholes serves as Board member and Deputy Chair of the World Congress on Family Law.
They had been prompted to do so after being invited to Hong Kong to address the Council of LAWASIA, an association which represents lawyers and lawyers’ organisations in some 21 countries in the Asian and Pacific region.
At that meeting the Council of LAWASIA asked them to accept a brief for the human rights of families and children in the Asian and Pacific region. The daunting challenge was accompanied by horror stories about the desperate plight of hundreds of thousands of children who were being forced into prostitution and child labour, forcibly adopted, mutilated for the purposes of begging, or decimated by AIDS.
From its inception, the World Congress was designed and promoted to achieve outcomes, not to be simply a ‘talk fest’. Over 850 delegates from 54 countries of the world answered the initial challenge in Sydney, drafting solutions and remedies to establish the momentum for change.
Four Congresses have now been held, with the fifth planned for Canada in 2009. It is recognised as one of the most significant events on the world calendar in promoting the protection of children, having received a United Nations Award for services to the family, and the hope of achieving beneficial change for many of the world’s children now seems attainable.
Children’s Rights International
Children’s Rights International (CRI) was established at the 2001 World Congress on Family Law and Childrens Rights at Bath, England, to promote and protect the interests of the most vulnerable amongst us, our children and youth.
CRI aims to bring together judges, lawyers, psychologists, medical practitioners, mediators, counsellors, mental health workers, media representatives, child carers, teachers & allied professionals to provide assistance to children through a twofold focus on education and legal advocacy.
In both of these functions the Congress seeks the active support of professionals able to contribute time, expertise and other resources.
Women’s Information & Referral Exchange (WIRE)
WIRE is an information and referral service which provides Victorian women with free and confidential support, information and referrals.
Nicholes Family Lawyers has been instrumental in the establishment of a pro bono family law advice clinic which operates at WIRE and provides women with advice in relation to property and maintenance issues. Solicitors from Nicholes Family Lawyers volunteer at the Clinic on a regular basis to ensure that women in need have access to family law advice. Nicholes Family Lawyers also assists WIRE with the provision of fact sheets, information seminars and general family law information.