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Political parties urged to address lawyer concerns

Political parties urged to address lawyer concerns

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Election 2010: The Law Council of Australia (LCA) has given a deadline to all sides of politics to offer the legal profession some credible policies around access to justice, the shortage of country lawyers and the legalities of the asylum seeker debate.

LCA president Glenn Ferguson said Wednesday (21 July) that political parties contesting the 2010 Federal Election should deliver their policy platforms regarding issues affecting Australian lawyers by 28 July.

"The issues we have asked political parties to address are of interest and concern to practising lawyers around the nation and relevant to the well-being of all Australians," said Ferguson.

To help, the LCA has prepared a document containing the key issues it believes candidates should address, and lists the long-term decline in Legal Aid funding as a key priority.

"The Federal Government's recent increase of $23 million per annum for Legal Aid Commissions falls well short of the $43 million the Law Council estimates is needed to restore funding to pre-1997 levels," Ferguson said.

"Community legal centres and Indigenous legal services also remain chronically underfunded."

To meet what the LCA has identified as a critical shortage of lawyers in regional, rural and remote areas, the document also asks political parties to declare whether or not they will support a range of initiatives aimed at supporting the recruitment and retention of country lawyers.

The debate over asylums seeks has also drawn concern from a number of lawyers, with the LCA urging political parties to outline how their policies will ensure the protection of human rights.

Political parties have also been asked to address anti-terror laws, Indigenous issues, discrimination, gender equity and the resourcing of Family Law Courts.

>> What do the election promises mean for lawyers? Click here to read the latest legal-related election news

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