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Annual Report 2014 - 2015

Financial performance

Legal Aid NSW’s financial result was a deficit of $4.4 million which is $0.9 million more than the budgeted deficit of $3.5 million.


Total income for 2014-2015 was $253.4 million and expenditure was $257.4 million.

Funding from the New South Wales Government was $131.3 million.

Funding from the Commonwealth Government under the National Partnership Agreement was $64.6 million.

Funding from other sources includes $31.3 million from the Public Purpose Fund, $16.6 million from Other Grants Received, $3.5 million from Interest, and $6.1 million from other sources.


Total expenses for Legal Aid NSW are estimated at $268.0 million in 2015-2016, a decrease of 1.1% on the 2014-2015 budget.

Our major expenses were:

  • employee related expenses of $103.2 million ($97.1 million in 2013-2014); and
  • payments to private lawyers of $97.6 million ($93.0 million in 2013-2014).

Chart showing 5 year trend in total expenses Chart showing 5 year trend in total surplus

Budget outline 2015–2016

Operating Statement ($M)
Revenue (including government contributions) 266.8
Expenditure 268.0
Other Gains/Losses (0.2)
Net Result (1.4)
Balance Sheet ($M)
Current Assets 87.5
Non Current Assets 15.0
Total Assets 102.5
Current Liabilities 66.6
Non Current Liabilities 5.2
Total Liabilities 71.8
Net Assets 30.7
Equity 30.7

Financial words we use

Public purpose fund

The Public Purpose Fund was established under the Legal Profession Act 2004, (the Act). The fund is administered by the Law Society of NSW under the direction of its four trustees, three of whom are appointed by the Attorney General, and the fourth being the Director General of the Attorney General’s Department. Payments from this fund may be made in respect of costs and expenses incurred by the Law Society, a Council (the Law Society Council or the Bar Council) and the Legal Services Commissioner in connection with the exercise of their functions under the Act.

Payments may also be made from the Fund for certain purposes, including the supplementation of the Legal Aid Fund, the Fidelity Fund and the Law Foundation Fund. Payments may also be made for legal education programs, law reform and improving access to legal information for the people of New South Wales.

Client contributions

Legal Aid NSW requires an initial contribution based on income and assets from a person granted legal aid. Certain cases are exempt. At the conclusion of the case or the legal aid grant, Legal Aid NSW may recover the total costs of a matter where the applicant has recovered a sum of money or other asset or there is a substantial improvement in their financial circumstances.

We recover the full costs from clients who own real estate, where the matter costs over $2,000, even where no money is recovered. For example, this applies in an indictable trial or a family law dispute about children. The costs are recovered by way of a charge over the client’s real estate.

Community programs

Legal Aid NSW provides funding for the Community Legal Centres Funding Program and the Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Program (also see Appendices 4 and 5).