Oxford Pro Bono Publico

Who we are

Oxford Pro Bono Publico (OPBP) is an organisation based at the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Law and dedicated to promoting the principles and practice of public interest law on a pro bono basis. Each year, OPBP is led by an Executive Committee made up of graduate students and Faculty members. Our work is made possible by a wider group of student volunteers who donate their time, energy and skills to our project work and participate in our Internship Programme. In 2007 and 2013, OPBP was awarded the LawWorks & Attorney-General Award for Best Pro Bono Contribution by a Team of Students. In 2013, we were also awarded a grant of £15,000 by the Sigrid Rausing Trust to support and expand our activities.

What we do

OPBP advances its constitutional mandate of promoting the principles and practice of public interest law in three key ways: through pro bono legal research, the OPBP Internship Programme, and public events. First, OPBP provides high-quality international and comparative law research on a pro bono basis to organisations, advocates and judicial bodies working on public interest issues around the world. You can find out more about our project work here. Secondly, through its Internship Programme and Internship Fund, OPBP assists Oxford graduate students to undertake unpaid or poorly paid internships in public interest law. You can read more about our Internship Programme here. Finally, OPBP organises and promotes public seminars and other events which generate interest in and awareness of pro bono and public interest law. You can find out about our upcoming events here.

Learn more

Whether you’re a student, a Faculty member or a potential project partner, there are a variety of ways you can work with OPBP. Click on the links below to find out more. You can also read our latest Annual Report for a more in-depth look at our recent work and achievements here.

Call for Executive Committee Applications – November 2018:

OPBP is looking for graduate students with a passion for pro bono law to join the Executive Committee in the 2018-2019 academic year. Serving on the OPBP Executive Committee presents an incredible opportunity to work at the forefront of public interest law.

Past members of the Executive Committee have gone on to pursue distinguished careers, for instance, at the bar (Jason Pobjoy, Blackstone Chambers, London; and Laura Hilly, Victoria Bar, Australia), in academia (Miles Jackson, University of Oxford; and Shreya Atrey, University of Bristol) and in public policy (Dhvani Mehta, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, India).

Applications are now open for the following positions on the Executive Committee. In your application, you are welcome to indicate that you are applying for a specific position, but if you are not sure which position you would prefer you can leave this open.

1. Chairperson
2. Deputy Chairperson
3. Communications and Website Officer
4. Treasurer
5. Internships Officer

6. Research Officer

[Please note that it is also possible to have co-chairpersons.]
Ideally, candidates should have a background in (public interest) law, although this is not prerequisite. It is advantageous but not mandatory that applicants are currently enrolled in a programme at Oxford’s Law Faculty. Applicants with IT competencies will be prioritised for the position of Communications and Website Officer. For more information about each role, we have attached a document briefly describing each of these roles to this email.

In addition to their specific responsibilities, each executive member will coordinate one or more research projects over the course of the year. The new committee will be in office from the end of Michaelmas 2018 until the point of handover in Michaelmas 2019. Committee members work an average of 5 to 8 hours each week, including during the vacation period.

Applications should contain a curriculum vitae and a short statement of interest, including reference to whether you have volunteered for or contributed to OPBP in the past.  Please email your applications to the OPBP Selection Panel at opbp@law.ox.ac.uk.

Applications close at 5 pm on Friday 23rd November. Shortlisted candidates will be informed by Monday 26th November, and should be available for interviews in week 8 and week 9

Working with OPBP


If you are a graduate student at the University of Oxford (including a visiting student), there are lots of opportunities to get involved with OPBP.

  • If you want to use your legal research and writing skills to help pro bono lawyers and organisations around the world, you can volunteer as a researcher on one of our projects.
  • If you know of an organisation or individual working pro bono who could use high-quality comparative or international law research, you can invite or work with them to submit a project proposal.
  • If there’s an area of public interest law that particularly appeals to you, you can volunteer as a student co-ordinator for an OPBP project.
  • If you have a passion for public interest law and are keen to build your skills and experience in this area, you can apply to the OPBP Internship Fund for a supporting grant.
  • If you’ve worked with OPBP before and are staying at the University of Oxford next year, you can chat to one of our current Committee members about applying for the 2015-16 Executive Committee.
  • If you want to stay up to date with OPBP news and events, you can email us at opbp@law.ox.ac.uk and ask to be added to our mailing list.

Faculty members

If you are a member of the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford, you can support OPBP’s work by acting as Faculty supervisor for a project which is relevant to your area(s) of expertise. If you are in touch with any organisations or individuals working pro bono, you can also invite or work with them to submit a project proposal.

Project partners

If your organisation is (or you are) working pro bono and could use high-quality comparative or international law research, OPBP would love to hear from you (opbp@law.ox.ac.uk). Please visit our Project Work page to read more about the assistance OPBP can provide and to download a project proposal form. You can also browse or search our past projects here.

By nature and by choice, [our] cases are factually and legally complex. We often face opponents who are better resourced. In this climate, having access to the best legal minds in the world through OPBP gives us an invaluable edge when we prepare for our most difficult cases. – Sarah Sephton, Director, Legal Resources Centre (Grahamstown Office)

In addition, if your organisation might benefit from hosting an intern from the University of Oxford, you can contact us to find out more about the OPBP Internship Programme.