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Byron Shire
January 21, 2022

Legal aid funding inadequate, say Law Council of Australia

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The nation’s top law advocacy group is calling on the government for adequately resourced Legal Aid Offices, owing to unmet demand for the service.

With offices across the nation, the NSW Legal Aid office ‘provides legal services to disadvantaged clients across NSW in most areas of criminal, family and civil law’.

The Australian Legal Aid Office was established in 1973 under Labor Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam.

Funding reduced

Law Council of Australia President, Dr Jacoba Brasch QC said, ‘Since 1997, Commonwealth Governments of all shades have dramatically reduced the share of legal aid funding when compared with the contributions of state and territory governments’.

‘At that time, the Commonwealth provided around 55 per cent of total legal aid funding across jurisdictions, but today its stands at just 33 per cent. Clearly, the Commonwealth needs to match state and territory contributions. This would increase annual legal aid funding by hundreds of millions of dollars’.

‘While we acknowledge and welcome the significant financial and human resources that have been committed to family law, there is still great demand being placed on the entirety of the justice systems around the country, and the bigger concern is unmet need,’

For legal help, call LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529.


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