Review of the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Services
The following comments are in response to the matters raised in the Discussion Paper produced by Urbis dated 1 August 2018. However, for a more comprehensive picture of what could be done to support effective legal assistance service delivery into the future, the Law Council refers to the Final Report of the Justice Project, the Law Council’s own national review into the state of access to justice in Australia for people experiencing disadvantage.
The Legal Services Chapter of the Justice Project sets out what is both effective and necessary to meet the legal needs of diverse groups of Australians.
Each of the four publicly funded legal assistance services: Community Legal Centres (CLCs), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS), Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (FVPLS) and Legal Aid Commissions (LACs) play an important, unique and complementary role in providing legal help to people across Australia. The serves a critically important purpose as the mechanism by which funding is received by the two largest of these subsectors, CLCs and LACs. It is submitted that the review of the NPA provides a useful opportunity to consider the operation of the funding arrangements for LACs and CLCs, but also more broadly the interaction between the NPA and the decision-making, funding, administrative and policy settings for the legal assistance sector.
You can read the full submission below.