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Annual Report 2011 - 2012

Fact file

"We increased minor assistance services by 108%."


Our total income was $243.6 million and we spent $244.7 million.

Of our total expenditure, 49.4% was spent in criminal law services, 26.3% in family law services, 12.7% in civil law services and 11.6% in community partnership programs. See the financial summary for details about where our funds come from and how we spend them. Details of our community partnership program funding can be found in Appendices 5 and 6.


We employed 965 staff (882.72 fulltime equivalent), 427 in regional offices and 538 in the Central Sydney office. Of that total, 477 staff are lawyers and 488 are employed in administrative and corporate services roles. Seventy one lawyers have specialist accreditation (NSW Law Society qualifications for expertise in the field).


An independent board oversees our long-term strategic direction, whilst the day-to-day management is overseen by the CEO, assisted by a Deputy CEO, Operations, and eight Executive Directors. See Legal Aid NSW Board, Board members and Executive directors for their achievements and profiles.

Private lawyers – key partners

In 2011–2012, 42.5% of our case and duty services were provided by private lawyers. See Assigned Grants and Duty Services in Appendix 7.


Our organisation is made up of nine areas – Criminal Law, Family Law, Civil Law, Grants and Community Partnerships, Strategic Policy, Planning and Management Reporting, Finance, People and Organisational Development, IT Services and Records, and Operations Support.

Three of these divisions are legal practices – civil law, family law and criminal law (see Highlights from our practice areas). Each legal practice has a number of specialist services (see Specialist services).

Our organisational chart can be viewed here.


The majority of services delivered by Legal Aid NSW are provided to people from disadvantaged socioeconomic groups. This includes people on low incomes, from rural and regional areas and from non- English-speaking backgrounds.

Legal Aid Client Profile

Our client profile has remained relatively stable in the last five years, however the percentage of total case and inhouse duty services provided to Aboriginal people increased from 7.4% in 2007–2008 to 10.2% in 2011–2012.

This reflects an emphasis by Legal Aid NSW on meeting the needs of one of its most disadvantaged client groups, particularly in family and civil law.

Total Client Services


Our work is guided by a number of plans, including the Legal Aid NSW Plan and the Legal Aid NSW Operational Plan.

Our key performance indicators measure how we are performing in accomplishing our goals. The Legal Aid NSW Plan appears here, and key performance indicators are in Measuring performance.

We also have an agreement with the Commonwealth Government, reporting every six months on our progress against performance benchmarks and indicators set out in the agreement. This is summarised in National benchmarking.

Key legislation

Our organisation is established under the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979.

Section 68 of the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979 enables Legal Aid NSW to establish special consultative committees to advise the Board in exercising its functions under the Act. A full list of these committees appears in the Appendices. The health and safety of people in our workplace is managed in accordance with s18 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Our financial statements are prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983.