Lawyers and law firms commit to the development of
a stronger pro bono legal culture in Japan

認定NPO法人 難民支援協会

Lawyers and law firms commit to the development of
a stronger pro bono legal culture in Japan

>>Japanese version

Following year long consultations with leadings lawyers and law firms in Japan, the Japan Association for Refugees ("JAR") in partnership with a number of lawyers and law firms has launched a new "Pro Bono Project" initiative intended to develop a stronger pro bono culture in Japan. The Project officially launched on July 28, 2012 with an intensive training in refugee legal aid. Demonstrating the momentum of the project, the training was overbooked and had to be capped at 40 participants.

At the time of launch, 3 law firms have joined the initiative as official partners to the project:

A number of additional firms have expressed interest, and active recruitment of lawyers and firms will be ongoing.

Most of the refugees seeking protection in Japan have never had the opportunity to speak with a lawyer and must go through the complicated asylum process alone. Legal aid in this context is not a luxury; it can be the difference between life and death. The JAR Pro Bono Project aims to set a precedent for pro bono legal aid in Japan and in the Asia Pacific region.

The training held on July 28 at the offices of Morrison Foerster will bring together 40 professionals for a series of intensive sessions on the practical aspects of providing legal aid to refugees. Japan and foreign qualified lawyers were invited to attend and the training has been accredited for "Continuing Legal Education" credits by the New York Bar Association.

The pro bono project envisions ongoing development of the system, incorporating a "pro bono roster," regular training opportunities, official law firm partnerships, and ongoing consultation with partners on the strengthening of pro bono culture in Japan.

■Press interested in learning more should contact:
The Japan Association for Refugees | Shiho Tanaka / Eri Ishikawa
Daisan Shikakura Bldg., 6F, 1-7-10 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0004


Intensive Training in Refugee Legal Aid

This training will officially launch the Pro Bono Project an ongoing initiative that seeks to set a precedent for the development of a pro bono culture in Japan and the broader Asia Pacific region. Participants are eligible to receive Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits. Most sessions will be in Japanese but simultaneous interpretation will be available.

Date&Time | July 28, 2012
Venue | The Offices of Morrison & Foerster / 5mins walk from Tokyo Station / Shin Marunuchi Building 29F, 1-5-1 Marunouchi Chiyoda-ku

Time / Session / Trainer

Background and Context of the Refugee situation in Japan and the Asia Pacific / Ms. Mai Kaneko, UNHCR

Refugee Status Determination Procedures in Japan / Mr. Koyama Nobuyuki, Ministry of Justice (MOJ)

Refugee law and the refugee definition / Mr. Seki Sosuke, Attorney at Law

(cont.) Refugee law case studies / Mr. Seki Sosuke, Attorney at Law

13:00-14:00 Lunch

Drafting a Legal Brief / Mr. Seki Sosuke, Attorney at Law

15:00-15:15 Coffee break

Taking testimony, client sensitivity, and ethics in the refugee context / Mr. Brian Barbour, Japan Association for Refugees

COI Research / Mr. Tada Susumu, Japan Association for Refugees

The JAR Pro Bono Roster and Process / JAR Legal Team