find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Lawyers call for $220m injection into legal aid

Lawyers call for $220m injection into legal aid

The legal profession's representative body is riled over new statistics that reveal that government legal aid funding has dramatically decreased.

THE legal profession’s representative body is riled over new statistics that reveal that government legal aid funding has dramatically decreased.

The Law Council of Australia is now urging the federal government to address the issue in the 2010 Budget.

Labelling access to justice as at “crisis point”, the Law Council said this week the lack of legal aid funding is having a negative flow on effect to the community.

It said the legal profession is concerned about the social and economic impact that failure to adequately fund this sector has on the wellbeing of Australian families and the broader community.

Law Council president Glenn Ferguson said the underfunding affects all aspects of society.

“If you do not qualify for legal assistance and do not have resources to fund representation in court then you will be expected to represent yourself and this has an enormous impact on people’s health, stress levels and family relationships,” Ferguson said.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers report commissioned by National Legal Aid revealed that for every $1 spent on Commonwealth legal aid services, up to $2.25 is saved within the justice system.

This same report revealed Commonwealth legal aid funding has decreased by 12 per cent in real terms since 1996-97.

“Like any number of professions, the law is a highly skilled and specialised area,” Ferguson said.

“A doctor wouldn’t expect someone to self diagnose so it is unjust that individuals are being forced to represent themselves in complex legal proceedings due to lack of Government funding,” he said.

The Law Council and its constituent bodies have been calling on the Federal Government to address the underfunding of the legal assistance sector for more than 10 years.

“The Law Council urges the Federal Government to address the crucial issue of legal assistance sector funding in the up-coming Federal Budget,” Ferguson said.

The Law Council is calling on the Commonwealth for an injection of funding of at least $43.2 million for the next financial year, and a commitment in the budget to restore the Commonwealth share of Legal Aid Commission funding to 50 per cent in the longer term, up from 32 per cent. This would require an additional recurrent expenditure of $220 million.



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

Lawyers call for $220m injection into legal aid
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Jetski
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
Consultation
Oct 23 2017
Lawyers slam rushed consultation for SA repeat offenders bill
The Law Society of South Australia has expressed concern for a proposal to roll out new laws amendin...
IBA
Oct 23 2017
The pursuit of happiness in the law
A panel of legal experts have explored how to define success in the legal profession, and how lawyer...
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 & ...