Article title Pro Bono Institute in Attorney’s-At-Law Professional Activity: National Trends and Foreign Experience

Doctor of Laws, Associate Professor, (Chernivtsi Ukraine) ORCID ID: Researcher ID:


Doctor of Laws, Associate Professor, Associate Professor Public Law Disciplines Department

Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University (Chernivtsi Ukraine) ORCID ID: Researcher ID:


Name of magazine Legal journal «Law of Ukraine» (Ukrainian version)
Issue 12/2019
Сторінки [179-195]

At the current stage of Ukraine’s development, issues arising in connection with development of the Pro Bono institute in attorney’s-at-law professional activity have never been more relevant than today. Not infrequently, the State is unable to provide highquality legal aid to socially vulnerable population groups. As a consequence, society develops a lack of trust in such axiological foundations of justice as the rule of law, justice, legality, and etc. In this situation, the Pro Bono system of legal aid is, on the one part, so to speak, a compensatory mechanism for persons in need of free-of-charge professional legal aid, and on the other partit is a kind of marker demonstrating the level of maturity of society and its attitude to the principles of legal equality. Presently, some of the mentioned models of legal aid in the Ukrainian legal system are not fully consistent with the accessibility requirement and, therefore, we can objectively see that the State’s mechanism of freeofcharge legal aid is lacking resources and that such legal aid is apparently insufficient. And this undoubtedly impedes the exercise of the constitutional right of citizens to properly qualified legal aid. To develop accessibility of full-fledged representation, new ways of communication between attorneys-at-law and clients are needed, as well as an increased number of attorneys-at-law who provide services to citizens with medium or low incomes (here, Pro Bono is the key component). Accessibility of legal services is crucial for a society which recognizes the rule of law. Without fundamental changes in the legal system, we cannot guarantee that the system of justice will serve every person, without any exception, and that the rule of law will be respected. The author emphasizes that a particular characteristic feature of Pro Bono is aid provided at the professional level. This is the basis for differentiating this institution from charity and volunteer services, since the latter imply assistance from any person, regardless of his/her professionalism. Pro Bono legal services are provided free of charge, they do not include other charitable activities which are not related directly to the use of lawyer’s skills.

The purpose of the article is to form an updated view of the Pro Bono institute from the standpoint of ensuring a balance between serving the interests of an individual client and society on the whole, subject always to maintaining a high ethical standard.

The article concludes that free-of-charge legal aid is a socially useful phenomenon. Pro Bono is a kind of indicator illustrating the extent to which the equality of human rights and their protection is ensured. For a further development of this institution, efficient mechanisms to encourage the Pro Bono legal services should be searched for and found. The experience of a number of countries can be useful for this purpose – the countries where such an institution has already been historically ingrained and where access to justice is impossible without it. Today, more than ever, Ukraine needs a highquality system of legal aid to vulnerable segments of the population. And international experience can provide an answer to the question of how it can be organized without bureaucratic interference on the part of the State. In the European countries, in Australia, North and South America, Pro Bono services are expanding and improving year after year. The opportunity for Ukrainian lawyers to learn from these examples can become a valuable method of encouragement which will help to expand the practice of Pro Bono services on a local scale.


Keywords rule of law; lawyer’s aid; legal services; free-of-charge attorney-atlaw activity; mechanisms to encourage lawyers; ethical standards of a lawyer; social responsibility; attorney’s-at-law personal profile; contract for free-of-charge services


Journal articles

1. Hobbs G, ‘Jr. Judicial Support for Pro Bono Legal Service’ [2012] 89(4) Denver University Law Review 851 (in English).

2. Bugarenko A, ‘Besplatnaja juridicheskaja pomoshh’ v nekotoryh zarubezhnyh stranah’ [‘Free Legal aid in Some Foreign Countries] (2010) 5 Arbitrazhnaja praktika 15 (in Russian).

3. Honcharenko S, ‘Problemy nadannia bezoplatnoi pravovoi dopomohy. Korotkyi ohliad novitnikh tendentsii’ [‘Problems of Providing free Legal Aid. A Brief Overview of the Latest Trends’] (2011) 11 Advokat 12-6 (in Ukrainian).

4. Rjabceva E, ‘Formy besplatnoj juridicheskoj pomoshhi v mezhdunarodnom prave i praktike zarubezhnyh stran’ [‘Forms of Free Legal Aid in International Law and Practice of Foreign Countries’] (2014) 6 Evrazijskaja advokatura 20-5 (in Russian).



5. Bakaianova N, ‘Funktsionalni ta orhanizatsiini osnovy advokatury Ukrainy’ [‘Functional and Organizational Bases of the Bar of Ukraine’] (dys d-ra yuryd nauk, 2017) (in Ukrainian).

6. Pereverza I, ‘Zahalnoteoretychni pidkhody do modeliuvannia advokatskoi diialnosti’ [‘General Theoretical Approaches to Modeling Advocacy’] (dys kand yuryd nauk, 2016) (in Ukrainian).

7. Rishko M, ‘Zabezpechennia prava na bezoplatnu pravovu dopomohu v Ukraini: teoretyko-pravove doslidzhennia’ [‘Securing the Right to Free Legal Aid in Ukraine: a Legal Study’] (dys kand yuryd nauk, 2019) (in Ukrainian).

8. Vilchyk T, ‘Advokatura yak instytut realizatsii prava na pravovu dopomohu: porivnialno-pravovyi analiz zakonodavstva krain Yevropeiskoho Soiuzu ta Ukrainy’ [‘Advocacy as an Institute for the Realization of the Right to Legal Aid: a Comparative Legal Analysis of the Legislation of the Countries of the European Union and Ukraine’] (dys d-ra yuryd nauk, 2016) (in Ukrainian).



9. ‘Colorado Supreme Court Pro Bono Legal Service Commitment and Recognition Program RPC 6.1.’ < cfm> (accessed: 26.10.2019) (in English).

10. ‘In-Kind Service Donations’ <> (accessed: 26.11.2019) (in English).

11. ‘Advokativ, yaki zakhyshchaiut bezkoshtovno, mozhut vkliuchyty do okremoho reiestru’ [‘Attorneys who are Free to Defend May be Included in a Separate Register’] (Zakon i Biznes, 24.07.2017) < bezkoshtovno_mozhut_vklyuchiti_do.html> (accessed: 26.11.2019) (in Ukrainian).

12. ‘Bidnym hromadianam otrymaty pravovu dopomohu stane prostishe’ [‘It will be Easier for Poor Citizens to Get Legal Help’] (Zakon i Biznes, 19.11.2019) < ua/ua/140108-bidnim_gromadyanam_otrimati_pravovovu_dopomogu_stane_prostis. html> (accessed: 26.11.2019) (in Ukrainian).

13. Haidai Yu, ‘Pro pro bono. Navishcho yurystam zaimatysia dobrochynnistiu’ [‘About Pro Bono. Why Lawyers do Charity’] (Zakon i Biznes, 27.09.2013) < ua/ua/print/41460-navischo_yuristam_zaymatisya_dobrochinnistyu.html> (accessed: 26.11.2019) (in Ukrainian).

14. ‘Hromadski pryimalni’ [‘Public waiting rooms’] (Ofitsiinyi sait Ukrainskoi Helsinskoi spilky z prav liudyny) <> (accessed: 26.11.2019) (in Ukrainian). 15. Lisova Yu, ‘Chest advokatskoi profesii vymiriuietsia v tomu, skilkom liudiam vdalosia dopomohty’ [‘The Honor of the Law Profession is Measured by How Many People have been Helped’] (Yurydychna Hazeta online, 21.03.2018) < publications/practice/inshe/chest-advokatskoyi-profesiyi-vimiryuetsya-v-tomuskilkomlyudyam-vdalosya-dopomogti.html> (accessed: 26.11.2019) (in Ukrainian).

16. Mihdal O, ‘Maibutnie advokatury Ukrainy – kliuchovi tsinnosti’ [‘The Future of the Ukrainian Bar is Key Values’] (Yurydychna Hazeta online, 24.01.2018) <> (accessed: 26.11.2019) (in Ukrainian).

17. ‘Pro Bono’ (Ukrainska fundatsiia pravovoi dopomohy) <> (accessed: 26.11.2019) (in Ukrainian).

18. Stelmashchuk D, ‘Pro Bono yak vono ye’ [‘Pro Bono as it is’] (Personalnyi sait advokata Dmytra Stelmashchuka) <> (accessed: 26.11.2019) (in Ukrainian).