iProbono and the Asia Pro Bono movement

May 2019 | NEPAL

The Asia Pro Bono Conference currently in its 8th year (8APBC) is an initiative founded by BABSEACLE, an organisation working towards developing justice education and access to justice initiatives. This year the 8APBC is being hosted in Kathmandu, Nepal from the 13-15 September 2019. The Conference was first held in Laos (2012) and then subsequently in Vietnam (2013), Singapore (2014), Myanmar (2015), Indonesia (2016), Malaysia (2017) and Hong Kong (2018).

With each new edition, the conference is witnessing a rise in the number of participants and is consequently expanding its areas of focus. This annual conference provides a platform for knowledge sharing among peers, strategising for effective solutions common to the region and developing networks to collaborate on access to justice projects and public interest law work. It aims to bring together persons providing pro bono legal services to the vulnerable communities in society.

iProbono associated with the APBC since 2016, is steering a South Asia regional focus. At the 7th APBC in Hong Kong, Mariam Faruqi, iProbono’s South Asia Regional Director facilitated a session on ‘Emerging Pro Bono Communities in the South Asia Region’ and our Legal Analysts from Nepal and Bangladesh presented on their work. This year, iProbono is playing a key role alongside the local organising committee based out of Kathmandu with extensive support from the international secretariat. In line with the theme for this year’s conference, Justice for All; Empower, Engage and Sustain, sessions will cover topics including ADR, clinical education, economic justice and innovating funding, in relation to pro bono practice, in the form of carefully curated plenaries, break-outs, interactive workshop sessions, and networking events. The programme includes pre-conference and post-conference events for the benefit of those who would like to engage in some of these areas in depth and develop actionable strategies for taking their pro bono work forward.

The 8APBC rests on key values that form the core of this initiative, primarily it strives to be an inclusive and diverse conference bringing pro bono service providers from all over the world under a single umbrella to educate them about the pro bono movement and assess the impact created by this movement in the region and globally. Staying true to these values, 8APBC is designed such that every participant regardless of where they are from or their merits in this area, will find the programme to be prudent and beneficial. Taking into consideration that the conference is being held in South Asia for the first time, issues prevalent in the region will be given sufficient representation. Thus the conference will also serve as a forum for stakeholders in South Asia to discuss and collaborate on pro bono interventions they are undertaking.

Lawyers, legal practitioners, academics, law students, members of the judiciary and government officials who would like to attend this unique initiative aimed at promoting the pro bono movement in Asia are welcome to read more about the relevant details and register for the event here. Developing a pro bono culture and ensuring its sustained practice is crucial for marginalised communities in their fight to access equitable justice. Such collaborative efforts contribute to establishing a well organised, effective and resourceful pro bono system.

For further information please write to the APBC secretariat at

Meenakshi Menon – South Asia Program Analyst, iProbono.

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