Go to content

Annual Report 2020 - 2021

Financial overview

Financial summary

Our net financial result was a deficit of $11.3 million.

  2019–20 ($M) 2020–21 ($M) Change %
Operating revenue 379.0 393.0 3.9%
Operating expenses 372.1 404.7 8.8%
Total assets 143.9 137.5 -4.4%
Total liabilities 110.8 115.7 4.4%
Surplus (deficit) 6.9 (11.3) (263.8%)
Net equity 33.1 21.8 (34.1%)

*Slight changes affected our reporting of the operating revenue and total assets for 2019–20. The figures reported in this table are the updated figures.


Legal Aid NSW receives its government funding as a grant from the NSW Department of Communities and Justice. The grant comprises income from the NSW Government and the Commonwealth Government. In addition, income is received from the Public Purpose Fund and client contributions.

Total income for 2020–2021 was $393.0 million and expenditure was $404.7 million.

Key developments

Our financial result was a deficit of $11.3 million which is $5.1 million less than the budgeted deficit of $16.4 million.

We ended the year with net equity of $21.8 million. Payments of $137.8 million were made to private lawyers, who provide legal aid services to our clients in partnership with Legal Aid NSW. These payments include disbursements for other professional services.

Where our money came from ($M)

Funding received in 2020–21($M)
State appropriation including Commonwealth funding provided under the National Partnership Agreement 321.7
Public Purpose Fund grant 4.6
Other grants 54.0
Acceptance by the Crown Entity of employees’ benefits and other liabilities 4.2
Other sources 8.5

How we spent our money ($M)

Funding spent in 2020–21($M)
Employee-related expenses 156.9
External legal services 137.8
Grants and subsidies 70.0
Other 40.0

How we spent our money by program ($M)

Funding spent in 2020–21($M)
Criminal law 193.5
Family law 93.8
Civil law 40.5
Community partnerships 76.6