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From the CEO: Our vision for strength & success

Every Issue

Cite as: April 2011 85(4) LIJ, p.6

The LIV’s future will build on our achievements and ensure all members – and the community – benefit from it.

As the voice of the legal profession in Victoria, the LIV represents the views and interests of over 15,000 members. With a strong and growing membership and support from business, government and the broader community, the LIV is well placed to provide leadership to and representation of the Victorian legal profession.

Over the past 12 months the LIV has worked to achieve a number of positive outcomes for members on a wide range of issues.

In 2010 the LIV’s new three-year strategic plan was implemented, which builds on the “Power of Association” theme. The plan, developed by Council, reflects the needs of members and will guide us as we build on our strengths and work to ensure the delivery of services and benefits from 2010 until 2013.

The LIV’s vision is to be our members’ essential professional partner whilst advocating justice for all. The key areas of focus are influence and representation, enhancing the reputation of the legal profession, maintaining a strong financial position and ensuring an active role in the implementation of national professional reform.

The objectives of the LIV, as defined in the strategic plan, are:

  • to be the professional association for the Victorian legal sector;
  • to be the organisation on legal issues, education, law reform and legal policy;
  • to have the people, infrastructure and culture to deliver excellent service; and
  • to attain the necessary revenue to efficiently achieve the LIV’s objectives.

An important component of LIV advocacy was the launch of our policy platform, Advocating Justice for All, which contains four key themes:

  • Supporting access to justice – The LIV believes in access to justice for all and that everyone has the right to legal advice and representation in the justice system, regardless of means.
  • Protecting rights – The LIV aims to promote human rights and freedoms and to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance.
  • Advancing government transparency, access and accountability – The LIV monitors exercise of government power and champions initiatives that advance transparency, access and accountability.
  • Focusing on the future – The LIV recognises the importance of the law in shaping the future and supports review and modernisation to ensure that legislation is clear and accessible.

The LIV is committed to enhancing the reputation of the legal profession. In 2010, we commissioned a study to provide insights into the reputation of the LIV and the legal profession in Australia. In particular the paper investigated:

  • the nature and impact of reputation, particularly in relation to the law;
  • national and international efforts to improve the reputation of not-for-profit organisations, corporations and entire professions;
  • the current reputation of the LIV and the legal profession in general within Australia; and
  • strategies the LIV could consider to enhance its position and improve the reputation of the legal profession overall.

Reputation is shaped by every interaction a profession or organisation has with its stakeholders. Based on the findings and recommendations of the paper, the LIV will be developing innovative strategies to protect and enhance the reputation of the profession.

On 28 January 2011, the LIV launched its social media platform with a president’s blog and Twitter. Regular blog posts and tweets have updated members and followers on a number of legal and LIV activities. Followers are able to post comments about the content and the response so far, both from members and the media, has been favourable.

An ongoing and critical issue for the LIV is legal aid funding. Chronic under-funding over the past 10 years has meant that it is increasingly difficult to qualify for legal aid, so many Victorians are unable to get legal advice or be represented by a lawyer in court.

The LIV wants to see legal aid per capita funding restored to 1997 levels – a $20 million increase on the amount provided in the 2010-11 federal Budget. The LIV has campaigned for the past two years for an increase to legal aid funding at both state and federal level, including:

  • making submissions and meeting with key government ministers and MPs;
  • commissioning a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers with the LCA and Victorian Bar, to analyse the extent of the legal aid shortfall; and
  • launching the Legal Aid Matters campaign, including a rally, and the Legal Aid Matters website.

In 2010 the then state government committed $50 million to legal aid over the next two years, which is very welcome. The LIV will continue to lobby to increase the provision of legal advice and grants of legal aid to those in need.

Members are always welcome and encouraged to provide suggestions and feedback on any aspect of the LIV and their membership. If you have anything you would like to raise, I encourage you to contact our Member Services team at any time as a starting point on ph 9607 9470 or email members@liv.asn.au.

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