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Annual Report 2010 - 2011

Justice system

Legal Aid NSW is a major stakeholder in providing services that promote social justice and reduce disadvantage. Our role in the justice system is shown in the diagram below. It illustrates the importance of strong partnerships with other agencies in providing legal services and shaping policy to directly benefit our clients.

2010–2011: how our corporate plan actions improved access to justice for clients

Priority 1: Social inclusion

Improving services for people experiencing financial stress

Mortgage Hardship Program

An independent evaluation by the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW showed that the Program has reached:

  • between 50%-60% of clients before the lender had issued a Statement of Claim; and
  • between 37%-40% before they had received a default notice.

See Mortgage Hardship Program.

1. Our mandate
  • Legal Aid Commission Act 1979
  • Board of Legal Aid NSW
  • Mission and Vision
  • Corporate Plan 2009-2011
2. Identify legal service needs
  • Data and research
  • Consultation with clients and stakeholders
  • Operational statistics
Priority 2: Access to justice

Contributing to reforms to the legal system, particularly in relation to trial efficiency

Law reform

Legal Aid NSW coordinated 36 submissions on law reform references, proposed legislation and reviews of legislation.

See Law reform.

We piloted alternative dispute resolution for matters referred from Bidura Children’s Court, part of reforms into child care and protection.

See Family law - Major achievements.

3. Inter-agency networks
  • Australian Legal Assistance Forum
  • Justice Executive
  • National Legal Aid
  • NSW Legal Assistance Forum
Priority 3: Integrated services

Closer collaboration with community legal centres, as part of an early intervention strategy that will help keep people out of court

Support for early intervention

Legal Aid NSW funded:

  • a new community legal centre on the Mid North Coast;
  • 14 new projects to increase education and outreach programs in remote areas; and
  • new partnership projects protecting the right of prisoners, young people and migrant workers.

See Community programs.

4. Partnerships
  • Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Ltd
  • Community Legal Centres
  • Cooperative Legal Service Delivery Program
  • LawAccess NSW
  • Private lawyers
  • Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services
5. Service delivery
  • Legal advice and information
  • Community legal education
  • Duty solicitor services
  • Representation and casework
  • Dispute resolution
  • Specialist services
  • Community funded programs
Priority 4: Organisational flexibility

Improving the ability of staff to interpret data, through better communication, systems and training

Data analysis

Commenced a project to identify and gather data collected by external agencies on factors relevant to Legal Aid NSW services

See Making sure people get the right service and Data and analysis.

6. Continuous improvement
  • Client surveys
  • Conferences
  • Service reviews and evaluation
  • Law and policy reform