Tindall Gask Bentley managing partner Morry Bailes says limited funding for pro bono legal work is impacting disadvantaged South Australians, who are finding it increasingly difficult to access justice.
Bailes, who is also Treasurer of Law Society South Australia, said the legal profession needs more support from the State and Federal Government to ensure that legal aid is available to everyone.
“Legal aid is a major issue in South Australia, and needs to be addressed before we reach crisis point,” Bailes said.
“Everyone should be able to access legal advice and representation, and I am concerned that the underprivileged in particular are missing out.
“This can have massive ramifications for some, who are unaware of their legal rights and are therefore left exposed and powerless.”
Bailes said the state’s legal community dedicates thousands of hours to pro bono legal work, but the profession is stretched to the limit.
He argued there needs to be a greater commitment from government toward legal aid.
“It was extremely disappointing that this issue was overlooked in the recent federal budget, which perhaps shows that the importance of pro bono legal work is underestimated.”
Bailed said individual firms can continue to try and do their bit, "but let’s hope that the legal profession in this state can gain more support, to ensure that everyone has access to justice".