find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Legal aid boosted, but change needed

Legal aid boosted, but change needed

The Federal Government is under pressure from key legal bodies to lift its game on legal aid spending in next week's budget.Although the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) and the Victorian Bar…

The Federal Government is under pressure from key legal bodies to lift its game on legal aid spending in next week's budget.

Although the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) and the Victorian Bar yesterday both welcomed the $24.7 million in funding allocated for Victorian Legal Aid in the state budget, both stressed the importance of the Federal Government following suit next week.

"We will be looking at next week's Federal Budget in the hope that there is a recognition that Victoria Legal Aid is underfunded and deserves more support," said LIV president Danny Barlow.

There is also mounting pressure on the Government to loosen up the rigid Commonwealth/State legal aid spending agreement under which Federal funding can be strictly only used for Commonwealth matters. In practise, this amounts to family law matters (although issues such as child protection and domestic violence remain in the domain of the states), drug importation (though again, states are responsible for possession or trafficking of drugs produced domestically) and terrorism offences.

According to Victorian Bar chairman John Digby, the Commonwealth should be willing to take on more of the burden of legal aid funding that it is currently doing.

"The Bar thinks that the Commonwealth is not yet recognising a much larger responsibility to provide funding," he said. "The Federal Government is far better funded because it draws on much more immense tax incomes than the state government, yet it's looking at it in an artificially restrictive way, saying 'We'll only give back money that the taxpayers have all contributed to discrete areas that have particular Commonwealth relevance', rather than taking a much more holistic view."

Last August Attorney-General Robert McClelland said he was reviewing the Commonwealth legal aid policy - put in place by the previous government in 1996 - admitting it created "artificial barriers to justice, but so far there's been no conclusive indication that it will be changed.

"We see that [Victorian] State Attorney General Rob Hulls has been very focused on this issue and it doing the best he can in the circumstances but we are not yet of the view that the Federal Government has done as much as it should have, and that it can do," Digby said.

- Zoe Lyon

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 boosted, but change needed
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
microscope
06:04
‘Exorbitant legal fees’ under government microscope
With the growing number of class action proceedings in Australia, the government is looking at how ...
Funds, money, cash
06:00
Law Access WA receives welcome funding
Law Access Western Australia has received a grant from the state government to fund its pro bono leg...
Thomson Reuters adds to Practical Law team
06:00
Thomson Reuters adds to Practical Law team
Thomson Reuters has appointed an experienced real estate lawyer to its Practical Law Australia team....
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 & ...