Law Council Hopes Legal Aid Funding Boost Is A Sign Of Things To Come

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18th April 2008, 12:09pm - Views: 979

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18 April 2008

Law Council Hopes Legal Aid Funding Boost is

a Sign of Things to Come

The Law Council hopes today’s announcement by the Attorney-General of

additional funding for community legal centres and legal aid commissions marks

the beginning of a genuine attempt by the Government to address shortfalls in

this crucial area. 

Law Council President Ross Ray QC said, “The additional $10M in funding for

community legal centres and $7M for legal aid commissions is an important

gesture of goodwill towards a sector that has been in crisis for many years.”

“However, more funding is needed and we hope that this step is just the

beginning of a serious attempt to address the real decreases in funding over the

last 10 years,” Mr Ray said.

“One-off funding, while welcome, is not enough. The Government needs to

revisit the recurrent funding formulas for legal aid commissions and community

legal centres,” he said. 

Numerous studies and Senate committee inquiries have found that the funding

formulas result in serious gaps in providing legal help to those in desperate


Mr Ray also urged the Minister for Home Affairs to announce more funding for

the Indigenous Legal Services, for which he now has responsibility.

The size of the problem is illustrated by the Law Council’s estimate prior to the

election of the extra funding needed for legal aid commissions at $140M. 

“The additional funding announced is a small step towards meeting the needs of

disadvantaged members of our community, who need the assistance of legal

aid,” Mr Ray said.

“Before the election, the Law Council also supported increases for community

legal centres. The centres estimated that they would require $39M – the

additional $10M announced is again just a start,” he said.

“The Law Council looks forward to working with the Government on the funding

formulas needed so that the vulnerable and disadvantaged members of our

community can have proper access to justice,” Mr Ray concluded.

Media Contact: Elenore Eriksson,

Director Public Affairs - 02 6246 3716/0419 269 855

The Law Council of Australia exists to represent the legal profession at the national

level, to speak on behalf of its constituent bodies on national issues, and to

promote the administration of justice, access to justice and general improvement of

the law.

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