Access to Justice

2017/18 Annual Report

The 2017-18 year was another busy one for the Access to Justice Committee. The Convenor represented the Law Society on the Law Council of Australia Access to Justice Committee, coordinating the positions taken at a State and National level on relevant issues.

While a strong campaign from the Law Society, Law Council of Australia and other State law societies led to the Federal Government cancelling planned cuts to Legal Assistance Funding in the 2017 Budget, no funding increases have been granted and the sector remains in crisis. As a result the Access to Justice Committee continues to advocate for the implementation of the recommendations in the Productivity Commission’s Report Inquiry into Access to Justice Arrangements including immediate provision of a further $120m from the Federal Government to cover
civil legal assistance, and a further $8m from the WA Government.

The Committee has also advocated for the WA Government to introduce a requirement for pro bono legal work to be undertaken by firms seeking to tender for government legal work, consistent with the Victorian model.

The Committee participated in consultations for a feasibility study into establishing a Community Justice Centre in WA and recommended that the project be supported. It also assisted in the
preparation of the Law Society’s Unbundling Guidelines.

Law Access Limited continues to be represented at meetings through a position on the Committee and provides monthly reports, including in relation to its Stakeholder Advisory Committee.
Law Access is a not-for-profit organisation that coordinates the giving of pro bono (free or reduced cost) legal assistance by the Western Australian legal profession and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Law Society.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford, advocacy@lawsocietywa.asn.au