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Annual Report 2018 - 2019

Regional partnerships

People living in regional, rural and remote areas can have difficulty accessing legal services.

The Legal Aid NSW Collaborative Legal Service Delivery Unit manages the Cooperative Legal Service Delivery (CLSD) Program and the Regional Outreach Clinic Program (ROCP).

Fact file
- 48 CLSD Program regional partnership meetings including two planning workshops
- 72 CLSD Program projects commenced or completed
- 46% of CLSD projects were targeted towards Aboriginal people
- 1,076 advice services delivered in 12 locations through the ROCP
- Advice delivered under the ROCP increased by 110.6% compared to 2017–18

OBJECTIVE: Meeting clients' needs

Increasing access to justice for clients in regional NSW

Under the ROCP, Legal Aid NSW funds private and community legal centre lawyers to provide legal advice to communities that have limited access to legal assistance services, and where it would not be feasible or efficient for Legal Aid NSW to provide regular outreach services. The program also aims to increase grants of legal aid for representation in regional NSW. ROCP clinics operate from community services such as local neighbourhood centres, courts and public libraries.

"This year, 1,076 legal advice services were delivered through ROCP clinics, up from 511 legal advice services delivered in 2017–18."

The ROCP was reviewed this year to ensure that services are targeted and that ROCP lawyers received appropriate support. Each year, ROCP solicitors attend training sessions on new and emerging areas of law provided by our in-house experts.

OBJECTIVE: Strong partnerships

Local community partnerships help us understand local needs

The CLSD Program supports 12 partnerships across regional and remote NSW to meet the needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged people, improve coordination of legal services and extend regional capacity through cooperation.

Typically, CLSD Program partnerships include representatives from Legal Aid NSW, community legal centres, the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT), courts and community service providers, as well as private lawyers.

CLSD partners work together to develop projects and strategies to assist disadvantaged people with complex legal and related needs and low legal capability. Each CLSD Program partnership determines service priorities by drawing on local data and demographics as well as the knowledge of partners.

This year, Legal Aid NSW worked with the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) to address the low rate of diversion of young people under the Young Offenders Act 1997 (NSW) in some regions. The Moree partnership has begun work with a number of local partners, including the NSW Police Force, to develop regional strategies to increase access to diversion. The Central West partnership has worked with partners to raise awareness about the need for drug and rehabilitation services in Dubbo and the expansion of the Youth Koori Court to the region.

The CLSD Program also funds collaborative projects. This year, funded projects included:

  • the development of Sorry Business, a culturally relevant resource for Aboriginal people providing information about what needs to be done when someone dies
  • embedding a lawyer from the Elizabeth Evatt Community Legal Centre at Lithgow High School one day a week to provide advice, casework and community legal education for students
  • community legal education for older people in the Hunter region, and
  • a community legal education project aimed at helping older people safeguard their finances, in a collaboration involving Legal Aid NSW, the Seniors Rights Service, Centrelink and NSW Fair Trading in Batemans Bay, Narooma, Bega and Eden.

Cooperative Legal Service Delivery Program regions


Story iconHow to stick to your order: a pocket-sized guide

The rate of breach of apprehended domestic violence orders in Albury is almost twice the state average. Local service providers were concerned that many people who have an apprehended domestic violence order made against them leave court without a good understanding of what the order means and how to comply with it.

This pocket-sized guide includes information about apprehended domestic violence orders, tips for complying with different types of orders, and local and statewide services available for people who are subject to an apprehended domestic violence order. The content of the pocket guide was developed locally by CLSD Program partners in Albury including the Hume Riverina Community Legal Service, the Albury Local Court and the Murray River Police District.

Year ahead iconThe year ahead

  • We will support partnerships to pursue key systemic issues, including the high rate of breaches of apprehended domestic violence orders in some regional areas.
  • We will seek to ensure that ROCP clinics are located in areas of highest need and are hosted by appropriate organisations.