find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Chronic underfunding in the legal sector

Chronic underfunding in the legal sector

Furious at missing out on more funding for legal aid in the state budget this week, Victorian lawyers now turn to the federal government to make up for it.

FURIOUS at missing out on more funding for legal aid in the state budget this week, Victorian lawyers now turn to the federal government to make up for it. 


Describing a "black hole" for legal aid, Victorian lawyers now call on the 2011 Federal Budget to provide better access to justice for disadvantaged Australians. 


The Victorian Bar and the Law Institute of Victoria have pointed to the program set out in the Law Council of Australia Budget Submission which calls for $66 million in this year’s budget just to return the Federal contribution to legal aid to pre-1997 levels.


The submission calls for nearly $312m over four years, which would return Commonwealth funding to 50 per cent of legal aid nationally, up from 33 per cent currently.


“It’s a big number, but that is the amount needed to catch up after 14 years of chronic underfunding,” said Mark Moshinsky SC, Victorian Bar chairman.


“While we acknowledge that the Government faces budgetary constraints, the bottom line is that real people are missing out on legal representation and assistance.


“Those missing out include the socially and economically disadvantaged - the working poor, minorities and people with disabilities. It includes people who are on incomes below the poverty line.


“These are the people least equipped to deal with navigating a complex legal system, who cannot afford legal representation to ensure they get a fair go in any legal situation," said Moshinsky.


“Relying on the goodwill of lawyers and barristers, who offer countless hours of pro bono assistance, is not the answer. We cannot have a system that degenerates into a system for the ‘haves’ and another for the ‘have nots’."


Victorian lawyers say he Federal Government must address this "systemic and chronic underfunding" or Australia risks becoming a culture where a fair go, and access to justice, depends on wealth.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Chronic underfunding in the legal sector
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...