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Annual Report 2013 - 2014

Fact file


Our total income was $247.7 million and we spent $243.9 million.

Of our total expenditure, 47.6% was spent in criminal law services, 26.7% in family law services, 13.5% in civil law services and 12.2% in community partnership programs. See Financial overview for details about where our funds come from and how we spend them. Details of our community partnership programs can be found in Appendices 5 and 6.


We employed 994 staff (903.91 full-time equivalent), 453 in regional offices and 541 in the Central Sydney office. Of that total, 485 are lawyers and 509 are employed in administrative and corporate services roles.

76 lawyers have specialist accreditation (NSW Law Society qualifications for expertise in the field).


An independent Board oversees our long-term strategic direction. The day-to-day management is overseen by the CEO, assisted by a Deputy CEO and eight Executive Directors.

See Corporate governance for their achievements and profiles.

Private lawyers – key partners

In 2013–2014, 41.1% 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 these areas – Criminal Law, Family Law, Civil Law, Grants, Strategic Policy and Planning, Community Partnerships, 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 structure appears on Organisational structure.


We measure our performance in several ways. Our key performance indicators (KPIs) and service delivery targets in Measuring performance indicate how we are performing against high level KPIs and targets. We also monitor our performance against a number of plans which guide our work, such as the Legal Aid NSW Plan 2013–2014, and we are accountable for achieving the actions set out in these plans.

The actions we achieved against the priorities in the plan in 2013–2014 appear in Legal Aid NSW Plan: a snapshot. Reporting against Commonwealth benchmarks takes place every six months.

Key legislation

Our organisation is established under the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979 (the Act), which establishes Legal Aid NSW as an independent statutory body with a mandate to provide effective, efficient and economical legal services that are available and accessible to disadvantaged people in New South Wales.

Section 68 of the Act 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 conducted 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.

Our clients

Legal Aid NSW clients are among the most disadvantaged members of the community, experiencing deep and persistent disadvantage. Many of our clients have multiple social, psychological and physical needs and complex legal problems.

Clients may also have difficulty accessing legal services because of low levels of literacy, English as a second language or they may have cognitive or mental health issues.

While 26.2% of Legal Aid NSW case grants and inhouse duty services were made to female clients, the gender profile changes significantly when criminal law clients are excluded. In 2013–2014, the majority of family and civil law case grants (60%) and inhouse duty services (54%) were made to female clients.

Graph showing the total client profile of Legal Aid NSW