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Annual Report 2014 - 2015

Overview

About us

Who we are

Legal Aid NSW is an independent statutory body, established under the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979, reporting to the New South Wales Attorney General, the Hon Gabrielle Upton MP.

We are the largest legal aid agency in Australia, playing a central role in the delivery and coordination of legal aid services.

A Board with 10 members determines our policies and priorities. Board members are appointed by the New South Wales Attorney General for a period of up to three years.

What we do

We provide legal services across New South Wales, through a state-wide network of 22 offices and 210 regular outreach locations, with a particular focus on assisting socially and economically disadvantaged people.

We assist disadvantaged people to deal with legal problems through a comprehensive network of services across criminal, family and civil law.

Our services range from high volume legal information, education, advice, minor assistance, dispute resolution and duty services, through to an extensive litigation practice.

What we seek to achieve

Legal Aid NSW aims to contribute to a fair justice system.

We deliver a high volume of community legal education and advice services that are not means tested.

More intensive assistance, such as casework and legal representation, is means tested.

We work in partnership with private lawyers who are members of the Law Society of NSW and the NSW Bar Association. They receive funding from Legal Aid NSW to represent legally aided clients.

We also work in close partnership with LawAccess NSW, Community Legal Centres, the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Limited and pro bono legal services.

Our values

We are committed to the legislated New South Wales public service values:

  • integrity
  • trust
  • service
  • accountability

These values are reflected in our Code of Conduct and govern the way we do business.

Our objectives

Our main objective is to improve access to justice for the most disadvantaged people in our society, responding to their legal and non-legal needs. In our growing role as early intervention problem solving lawyers, we draw on the skills and dedication of our highly experienced employees and work alongside a growing network of stakeholder partners to jointly deliver services.

About this report

This annual report reviews and reports our activities and performance, including what we set out to do in our Legal Aid NSW Plan for 2014-2015. It is structured around the four key objectives of the plan:

  • To promote access to justice through early intervention and better targeting of legal assistance to disadvantaged people;
  • To pursue excellence, innovation and efficiency in legal service delivery;
  • To support and develop our people; and improve our systems to meet organisational goals; and
  • To build strong, effective service partnerships to respond to the legal and non-legal needs of our clients.

Achievements in this report are aligned with focus areas from the plan such as service expansion in regional and remote areas, early intervention strategies, better information and referral services, and strong partnerships so we can respond better to clients' changing legal needs.

This report incorporates all operational activities of our organisation, including joint initiatives. It reflects our commitment to effective corporate governance through openness and accountability, and provides an account of our revenue and how we have used public funds.

As well as the year past, the report looks to the year ahead and comments on the challenges facing Legal Aid NSW in a difficult economic climate.

In this report we refer to ourselves as Legal Aid NSW.

Last year's annual report received a Gold Award from the Australasian Reporting Awards - our eighth Gold Award.

This is our thirty-sixth annual report. This, and some earlier annual reports, are available on the Legal Aid NSW website in pdf format and easy-to-navigate html format. They can be found in the Publications section of www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au

In accordance with Public Service Commission directions, Legal Aid NSW no longer produces printed copies of its annual report.