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Meeting with Attorney-General for England and Wales.

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23 February 2009

MEETING WITH ATTORNEY-GENERAL FOR ENGLAND AND WALES Commonwealth Attorney-General Robert McClelland today met with the Attorney-General for England and Wales, the Rt Hon Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, ahead of Baroness Scotland delivering the Magna Carta lecture at Parliament House in Canberra.

The wide-ranging dialogue included discussions on initiatives to improve access to the justice system, counter-terrorism legislation, human rights issues, pro bono work and development assistance in the Pacific. Mr McClelland also sought an update on Patricia Scotland’s recent reforms in relation to reducing domestic violence in the United Kingdom.

During her visit to Canberra, Patricia Scotland participated in a roundtable on international pro bono activities hosted by Mr McClelland and attended by a number of pro bono and volunteer organisations, as well as representatives of a number of Australian law firms.

“Patricia Scotland has overseen some innovative pro bono initiatives which we can learn from in Australia. I am keen to look more closely at the mechanisms Patricia Scotland has instituted to coordinate international pro bono work. These initiatives have great potential to assist legal capacity building in the Asia-Pacific region,” Mr McClelland said.

Patricia Scotland said she was particularly interested in some of the recent work in the Northern Territory to improve access to justice for indigenous communities. During her visit she also met with the National Human Rights Consultation Committee.

Both Mr McClelland and Baroness Scotland said they were keen to build on the close relationship between the two countries to ensure an ongoing dialogue between Australia and the United Kingdom on legal issues of mutual interest.

Media Contact: Adam Sims 0419 480 224