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
Legal aid reversal falls short

Legal aid reversal falls short

Senator Penny Wright

The federal government has reversed cuts to legal aid funding of about $25.5 million over two years, but that won’t meet ‘urgent need’ for increased services.

Attorney-General George Brandis and Assistant Minister for Women Michaelia Cash jointly announced on Thursday (26 March) that the cuts, scheduled to take effect on 1 July, will not proceed.

On the same day, both major parties rejected a Senate motion by the Greens to increase funding for community legal services.

Greens legal affairs spokesperson Senator Penny Wright (pictured) said the government should not stop at reversing cuts, but look at increasing funding for the legal assistance sector in May’s federal Budget.

“Legal assistance services were operating on a shoe-string budget before the Attorney-General’s cuts,” Senator Wright said. “Today’s policy reversal is extremely welcome, but this should only be the beginning.”

The president of the Australian Bar Association, Fiona McLeod SC, also claimed the reversal of the proposed cuts was just the first step in restoring the Commonwealth contribution to legal aid funding.

“Legal Aid remains chronically underfunded,” she told Lawyers Weekly.

“This announcement will assist in bringing governments together to work towards permanent guaranteed funding.”

According to the Productivity Commission’s recent Access to Justice Arrangements report, another $200 million is required to address the urgent need for increased legal aid services.

The chair of the National Association of Community Legal Centres, Michael Smith, echoed the views of Ms Wright and Ms McLeod, saying there was “still some way to go to ensure that the most vulnerable in our communities are not turned away from receiving legal services”.

“This can be achieved by all levels of government committing to a real partnership to provide the additional $200 million to legal assistance services in Australia,” he added.

Earlier this month, all state and territory attorneys-general urged Mr Brandis to preserve CLC funding, warning the cuts would set back progress made in dealing with domestic violence and Indigenous disadvantage.

The ABA and the Law Council of Australia had called on the government to rethink cuts to Indigenous services, with Ms McLeod arguing that the consequence would be “chaos in the courts and an increase in Indigenous imprisonment”.

About $11.5 million in funding for Indigenous legal assistance was restored as part of yesterday’s decision.

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

Legal aid reversal falls short
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice, ALA, right-to-die law
Oct 24 2017
‘Right-to-die’ laws would be a relief for terminally ill: ALA
The passage of an assisted dying bill through the lower house of Victorian Parliament has been haile...
Diversity
Oct 24 2017
Diversity top of agenda for future WA Law Society president
The advancement of diversity in the Western Australian legal profession will be one of the key items...
Jetski
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
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 & ...