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Annual Report 2014 - 2015

Key partners at a glance

We work closely with legal and non-legal service providers to improve access to legal services for disadvantaged communities.

Private lawyers

Private lawyers provided 41.8 per cent of all Legal Aid NSW case and duty services.

We work in partnership with private lawyers who receive funding from Legal Aid NSW to represent legally aided clients (see Private lawyers).

LawAccess NSW

LawAccess NSW made 60,300 referrals to Legal Aid NSW offices, down from 75,912 last year - due to fewer calls from prisoners* after we streamlined the referral service, and to reduced funding to LawAccess NSW from the Public Purpose Fund.

LawAccess NSW is a free service that assists customers over the phone to manage their legal problems. It provides them with legal information, managed referrals and, in some instances, legal advice. LawAccess NSW is available to everyone in New South Wales. It is administered by the Department of Justice, and partly funded by Legal Aid NSW.

A person can contact LawAccess NSW, receive legal information over the phone and may be referred to Legal Aid NSW for further advice or to access a duty service or outreach service. Depending on the person's level of disadvantage and legal need, they may then be assisted to obtain a grant of legal aid for a dispute resolution conference or representation in court.

The main areas people sought help with in 2014-2015 were debt, family law parenting arrangements, neighbours, wills, apprehended domestic violence orders, property settlement, and car accidents.

*See New arrangements for prisoner calls and Streamlining access to legal services for prisoners for more details about prisoner phone calls.

National Legal Aid (NLA)

NLA developed a national website to enhance the quality of practice, and understanding of the role of Independent Children's Lawyers.

This forum of the eight independent legal aid commissions in each of the Australian states and territories engages nationally with governments, stakeholders and the community about best practice for the delivery of legal aid (see National Legal Aid).

NSW Legal Assistance Forum (NLAF)

Forum members worked together to improve access to legal services for parents and children involved in Compulsory Schooling Order Proceedings in the Children's Court and Education Act prosecutions in the Local Court.

This forum brings together the agencies responsible for legal aid services to collaborate in working groups on improving legal services for disadvantaged people in New South Wales (see Projects focus on better access).

Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ ACT) Ltd

Legal Aid NSW funded positions at Aboriginal Legal Services in regional areas.

Legal Aid NSW and the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Ltd share a statement of commitment ensuring that both agencies work together to address the legal needs of Aboriginal people in New South Wales. The Aboriginal Legal Service is also a member of the Legal Aid NSW Aboriginal Justice Committee (see Working towards culturally sensitive services).

Cooperative Legal Service Delivery (CLSD) Program

CLSD Program partners took part in 53 joint service projects across regional, rural and remote New South Wales.

The CLSD Program is a regionallybased approach to legal service delivery. It develops partnerships between regional legal, community and government agencies that increase collaboration between legal assistance and related services (see Cooperative Legal Service Delivery Program).

Community Legal Centres (CLCs)

Twenty-two legal centres received funding to provide early intervention and alternative dispute resolution in partnership with Legal Aid NSW as part of Safe Home for Life reforms.

Legal Aid NSW administers funding to 36 generalist and specialist Community Legal Centres in New South Wales (see Community Legal Centres).

Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program (WDVCAP)

Inaugural Local Coordination Points were established at WDVCASs in Orange and Waverley, receiving referrals from local police.

The WDVCAS Program works with the NSW Police Force, Local Courts and legal, health, welfare and accommodation services in the community to provide an integrated response to domestic violence (see Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program).