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Annual Report 2013 - 2014

Five-year performance

Reaching more people who need our services

The five-year performance charts below show that Legal Aid NSW is increasing its reach to the disadvantaged communities of New South Wales.

They show that Legal Aid NSW makes a difference by assisting with legal problems through advice, advocacy, mediation or education.

We target especially disadvantaged clients:

  • Our network of mobile lawyers provides assistance to hard-to-reach communities.
  • Aboriginal clients are a priority.
  • We help people settle disputes without going to court through early intervention.

Our strongest performance is aligned with the client services objective of the Legal Aid NSW Plan. This is not surprising given that clients are at the centre and front of all our work.

OBJECTIVE: Promoting access to justice

"We have increased our services to clients by 25.1% over five years."

Client services

We have increased our services to clients by 25.2% over five years. These include legal advice, minor assistance, legal representation, duty services and information services. Community legal education sessions are excluded. See chart 1.

Chart showing total client services by law type over 5 years

Chart 1. Total client services by law type

Minor assistance services

Our largest service increase was in minor assistance services—16.5% higher than last year—partly as a result of providing more face-to-face advice sessions to people outside Legal Aid NSW offices. Minor assistance includes practical support such as letter writing and making phone calls on behalf of clients. See chart 2.

Chart showing total minor assistance services over 5 years

Chart 2: Total minor assistance services

Outreach services

Legal Aid NSW now has a comprehensive network of mobile lawyers and legal outreach services across New South Wales. Locations with regular outreach increased from 98 in 2009–2010 to 194 in 2013–2014.

Locations with regular outreach services for Aboriginal communities increased from 11 in 2009–2010 to 31 in 2013–2014. The number of services provided over five years increased by 50%. See chart 3.

Chart showing total outreach services provided by mobile lawyers over 5 years

Chart 3: Total outreach services provided by mobile lawyers

Aboriginal clients

We assist growing numbers of Aboriginal clients. Community legal education sessions for Aboriginal people have increased by 167% over five years (45% in the last year, largely due to the Money Counts project). See charts 4 and 6.

Chart showing Aboriginal clients as a percentage of total case and inhouse duty services over 5 years

Chart 4: Aboriginal clients: percentage of total case and inhouse duty services

Chart showing total education sessions for Aboriginal communities over 5 years

Chart 6: Total education sessions for Aboriginal communities

Community legal education

Legal Aid NSW provides free workshops and information sessions (community legal education), equipping people with the knowledge and skills to resolve law-related problems encountered in everyday life.

There has been a 25.6% increase since last year and a 121.8% increase over five years. See chart 5.

Chart showing total Community legal education sessions over 5 years

Chart 5: Community legal education sessions

Mediation

We assist growing numbers of clients to resolve their family law disputes without going to court. These figures now include family conferences in the care and protection jurisdiction. See chart 7.

Chart showing total family law mediation conferences

Chart 7: Total family law mediation conferences

A court ordered mediation program (COMP) was established at Parramatta in 2011, then Sydney in 2013, helping more people settle their matter and stay out of court. The COMP achieved a 75.5% increase in settlements between 2011 and 2014. See chart 8.

Chart showing the percentage settlement rate for court ordered mediation over 3 years

Chart 8: Percentage settlement rate for court-ordered mediation*
*Program set up in 2011

Early intervention services

Between 2009-2010 and 2013-2014, there was an 80.6% increase in early intervention services (excluding State criminal law services, which are not early intervention in nature). See chart 9.

Chart showing the total early intervention services over 5 years

Chart 9: Total early intervention services (excluding State criminal law services)

Significant increases across services over five years %
Preventative services (information, community legal education, publication and website visits)*

92

Early intervention services (advice and minor assistance)*

80.6

Commonwealth family law duty services*

159

Locations with regular legal outreach services

98

Outreach advice services

50

*Source: The National Partnership Agreement 2013–2014