The Southern Communities Advocacy Legal and Education Service (SCALES) has received an additional $60,000 in federal government funding for clinical legal education in the area of family law.
The funding has been used to offer an advanced family law unit to students of Murdoch University in Perth, with students able to help separated parents reach agreement on parenting plans without going to court.
"The unit will expand the existing family law practice and give students the skills to help parents reach agreement on the care of their children," acting director of SCALES Gai Walker said.
"The focus of the family law clinic is to advise and support clients in family dispute resolution. Under the supervision of experienced lawyers, students are involved in all aspects of the legal service provided to clients. Where family dispute resolution fails or is inappropriate the students will also be involved in giving advice on court based processes and preparing court documents."
Walker said SCALES has experienced an enthusiastic response from students wanting to enrol in the unit, which starts in August 2010.
The new service is in addition to the ongoing free legal services currently provided to disadvantaged people or people with low incomes living in the Kwinana and Rockingham region of Western Australia.
SCALES was established with the assistance of the local community and each year helps clients in areas such as criminal law, domestic violence, refugee and humanitarian immigration law, family law, public housing and tenancy and criminal injuries compensation.