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
Family law support service minimises court delays

Family law support service minimises court delays

family law

The Legal Services Commission of South Australia’s Duty Lawyer service helps cut delays in the court process by providing assistance to unrepresented people.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Legal Services Commission of South Australia’s Duty Lawyer service and the 40th anniversary of the Family Law Act, which overhauled Australian divorce laws and paved the way for increased self-representation.

As the number of unrepresented people seeking free legal assistance in family law matters grows, the Legal Services Commission of South Australia’s Duty Lawyer service has experienced a 10 per cent year-on-year increase on the use of its services.

Legal Services Commission family law division manager Graham Russell said: “There are increasing numbers of unrepresented people in family law cases. It’s estimated that up to 40 per cent of people are not represented by a lawyer in these matters.”

He continued: “Unrepresented people will often be unaware of how the court operates. People often arrive at the court and don’t know what to do.”

Mr Russell said the Duty Lawyers service provides free advice about the legal processes, how they should speak to the judge and the information they should provide. Duty Lawyers also sometimes provide representation in court.

“[Judges] will often ask the Duty Lawyer to provide specific assistance to unrepresented people,” Mr Russell said.

“This helps to minimise delays in the court process and to stop people falling through the legal gaps.”

Duty Lawyer assistance is not means tested and anyone with a family law matter can approach this service for one-off assistance, Mr Russell explained. The Commission’s Duty Lawyers are based at Adelaide’s Commonwealth Law Courts Building, in Angas Street, where most SA family law cases are heard.

“We strive to provide prompt access to justice for those in need, and usually have two Duty Lawyers at the courts on each sitting day,” Mr Russell said.

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

Family law support service minimises court delays
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
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
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
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...
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'...
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...
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 & ...