Terms and conditions for the use of Pro Bono Italia's Pro Bono Platform by lawyers and trainee lawyers
1. Nature of the Service
By subscribing to Pro Bono Italia's Pro Bono Platform, which was created to promote and spread the culture and the performance of ”Pro Bono” activities in the legal area, the adhering professionals, be they lawyers or trainee lawyers who perform pro bono activities in an associated or non-associated form (the ”Service”) and therefore including all persons involved in the Service (the ”Professionals”) recognise and accept that the Service they will perform, as defined below, will be aimed at allowing access to legal services, both in- and out-of-court, in favor of (i) non-profit organisations pursuing socially useful purposes; (ii) individuals who face difficulties in obtaining legal assistance and access to justice (the ”Beneficiaries”).
The Service may concern activities carried out voluntarily, and under the exclusive responsibility of the Professionals, relating to legal services, both in- and out-of-court, in any area where such activity may take place or is required (including, by way of example, in the area of civil and corporate law, criminal law, administrative law, labor law, legislation on the protection of personal data, immigration law and tax matters), towards and in favor of individuals, legal entities and entities of various kinds, having the requirements to qualify as Beneficiaries with the exception of legal assistance and representation in court made pursuant to the rules on legal aid at the expense of the State.
As a result of the above, the Professionals acknowledge, accept and confirm that this Service will be carried out in the interest of the Beneficiary by way of a mandate expressly qualified as free of charge, intended, in particular, as legal advice and representation in court, carried out free of charge and on a strictly voluntary basis in the performance of the social function of the Bar (”Pro Bono”).
The Service, notwithstanding its Pro Bono nature, and thus free of charge, shall not be qualified as a service rendered in a spirit of liberality, but as a Service that the Professionals expressly recognise as aimed at satisfying their own interest, including professional interest, connected with the concrete realisation of the constitutional function of the Bar, identifiable in the general duties of social solidarity provided for by articles 2 and 24 of the Constitution, with particular regard to the purpose of making it possible for the unprivileged to have access to the means to act and defend themselves before any jurisdiction as well as a direct expression of the social function of the Bar, as acknowledged, in Italy, by article 8 of the Lawyers' Professional Law.
The main features of Pro Bono assistance, the procedure for assigning tasks, as well as the main terms for carrying out the tasks, are included in the Guidelines for the management of individual requests [link where they will be available] regarding the procedure for the assignment and management of tasks and the principles of conduct applicable to Professionals in Pro Bono activity carried out in favour of individuals in need (”Guidelines”).
2. Commitments of the Professional
The Professional has the right to take on or not the tasks indicated through the portal of Pro Bono Italia's Pro Bono Platform through the technical procedures provided for by Pro Bono Italia's Pro Bono Platform. It is understood that once the Professional has applied to provide assistance in relation to a specific task and further to the assignment of the same, the Professional will run, within the strictly necessary technical timeframe, the preliminary checks regarding the absence of conflicts of interest, as well as the fulfillment of other legal and ethical obligations (also according to the internal policies of his own associated Law Firm), prior to the final assumption of the task. Once the task has been accepted, after the outcome of the above mentioned preliminary checks, the Professional recognises and accepts that he/she will be required to provide the assistance for which he/she has applied according to the best diligence for the exercise of the legal profession in the broadest sense, also in compliance with the Guidelines.
The Professional acknowledges and accepts that the condition for the engagement is the valid enrolment of the Professional in the competent Bar association and that any cancellation and/or suspension from the same will require the Professional to immediately inform the Beneficiary and immediately waive the engagement. In this situation, and in all other circumstances where it is necessary to replace a lawyer during the term of office, the Professional agrees to collaborate with the utmost diligence and in compliance with the code of ethics of the Bar in order to allow the continuity of assistance to the Beneficiary by the replaced lawyer and without any prejudice to the Beneficiary.
Once the Professional has accepted the assignment by the Beneficiary, he/she commits to render the Service requested by the Beneficiary applying, and in observance of, the relevant legal, professional and ethical rules as set forth for similar services, to the same extent and in the same way, as well as in compliance with the same parameters of diligence and professionalism, that would apply in the case of a paid service.
The Professional acknowledges and accepts that, in relation to the activity carried out through Pro Bono Italia's Pro Bono Platform, in no circumstance will any remuneration be agreed upon, requested or in any other way received by the Professional (even in the case of settlement of litigation expenses by the competent judicial authority), nor will any activity aimed at advertising, or in any case making possible, any lucrative activity on the part of the Professional (including through the request to the Beneficiaries themselves of third-party contacts) be carried out through Pro Bono Italia's Pro Bono Platform. As far as the reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses or fees of other professionals, other than lawyers, involved is concerned, the Professional will do everything possible to bear these out-of-pocket expenses and fees whenever the assisted party cannot bear them.
Without prejudice to the Pro Bono nature of the Service, the rules provided for by the applicable professional law and the relevant code of ethics, which the Professional will be required to ensure compliance with, will be fully applied to the same.