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LIV welcomes focus on fairer legal aid system

LIV welcomes focus on fairer legal aid system

By LIV Media

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Vulnerable and disadvantaged people will benefit from better targeted funding and more options to access legal assistance under recommendations made in the Access to Justice Review report.

The LIV welcomes the Department of Justice and Regulation report, which has adopted some of the recommendations made in its submission to the Review. These include giving self-represented litigants legal advice to help represent themselves in court, and more integrated service delivery to better link legal services with other providers, such as health and community services.

The report recognises the importance of a more integrated approach to support vulnerable people, including LGBTI communities, Indigenous people, those with mental health issues, victims of family violence and people in regional areas.

These groups need a multi-faceted approach to socio-legal problems, LIV president-elect Belinda Wilson said. “A one-size-fits-all model to service and information delivery inevitably disadvantages groups with different, and often multiple, needs. Services should be targeted to reduce the barriers faced by vulnerable groups in accessing justice.”

The report has also recommended a shake-up of the governance of Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) and called for VLA to more tightly focus on providing legal assistance. 

The LIV appreciates the report’s acknowledgement of the critical role that private legal practitioners play in providing legal aid. “Many people don’t realise that lawyers in private practice provide 70 per cent of legal aid work, which they in effect heavily subsidise to ensure that people do not risk going to jail undeservedly,” Ms Wilson said.

The LIV also applauds the recommendations that federal funding for legal assistance be increased from 31.2 per cent to a minimum of 40 per cent of total funding, and that state funding should be increased for legal assistance, with more sustainable funding for community legal centres.

“The Review recognises it is crucial that access to justice is improved for low and middle income earners, as well as for the most disadvantaged Victorians,” Ms Wilson said.

“It is imperative that both governments kick in for a sustainable legal infrastructure for Victoria. This should be considered just as important in mainstream funding along with health, education and transport."

 

For further information regarding this media release please contact the
LIV Media Department

T: 03 9607 9389
E: media@liv.asn.au


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