Pro Bono Lawyers Flood In To Help Refloat Country NSW


First came the rains, then came even more rain, and then came the lawyers, who are lining up to assist residents being smashed by flooding and regional and remote NSW. And they’re doing it free of charge, with at least 10 Central West law firms, along with the Law Society of NSW, committing to providing free legal help to victims of the region’s floods.

Flood waters are receding in some northern parts of the state, but they’re still rising in the south, with the town of Moulamien in the southern Riverina warned to evacuate before 2pm today. You can find everything you need to know about evacuations and flood warnings, safety etc from this NSW Government weblink.

Meanwhile, President of the Law Society of NSW, Joanne van der Plaat and President of the Central West Law Society, Dannielle Ford both commended the firms for stepping up in a time of crisis.

Ms Ford said that the devastation left by floods can also leave insurance, tenancy and finance problems that can evolve into serious and complex legal issues.

“Residents of flood affected areas are still in survival mode, cleaning up and assessing what’s left of their homes and property,” Ms Ford said.

“Legal problems may not emerge for weeks or even months after the disaster, but when they do, many lawyers are prepared to pitch in to help.

“I’m proud to stand alongside fellow lawyers to provide pro bono assistance to those impacted by the floods with insurance claims, negotiation for rent relief or abatement and negotiation of terms with lenders. These firms are providing a great example to others in the region and across NSW to engage in providing free legal help.”

Ms van der Plaat said pro bono work by lawyers for people in crisis is consistent with the finest traditions of the legal profession.

“I’m awestruck, but not surprised by the willingness of our members who themselves may be flood affected, to come to the aid of locals who need urgent legal help,” Ms van der Plaat said.

“This offer of help follows our members’ pro bono efforts following the floods in Lismore earlier this year, and in the wake of the catastrophic bushfires in late 2019.”

The participating firms from the Central West include Blackwell Short Lawyers, Cheney Suthers Lawyers, LS Legal, Toby Tancred (Solicitor), and NGT Lawyers from Orange; Hughes & Co and Kneebone & Associates Solicitors from Forbes; Kenny Spring Solicitors from Bathurst; Moore & Co Solicitors from Condobolin; and Rebecca Scott Legal, from Blayney.

The offer by these firms is in addition to free help offered by members of the Law Society’s Pro Bono Scheme through the Disaster Response Legal Service, which is coordinated by Legal Aid NSW.

People with legal issues arising from natural disasters can find out how to access that help by clicking here or call 1800 801 529.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.