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Annual Report 2020 - 2021


Annual report 2019 - 2020 - Legal Aid NSW

About this report

This annual report reviews and reports on our activities and performance, including what we set out to do in the Legal Aid NSW Strategic Plan 2018–2023.

This report incorporates operational activities of our organisation, including joint initiatives. It reflects our commitment to effective corporate governance through openness and accountability. It provides an account of our revenue and how we have used public funds. The report also looks to the year ahead and comments on the challenges facing Legal Aid NSW.

Last year’s annual report received a Gold Award from the Australasian Reporting Awards – our 18th Gold Award. This is our 42nd annual report.

About Legal Aid NSW

Legal Aid NSW is an independent statutory body, established under the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979 (NSW), reporting to the Attorney General of NSW, the Hon. Mark Speakman SC, MP.

Key achievements iconKey achievements

  • We continued to provide services during COVID-19.
  • We helped hundreds of people affected by floods and bushfires.
  • We continued to update and develop digital initiatives to improve accessibility to our services.
  • We introduced a new flexible working policy for all staff.
  • We implemented new and universal triage so that all people seeking assistance are consistently directed to the right level and type of service.
  • We finalised our integration with LawAccess NSW.
  • We held an inaugural organisation-wide virtual conference celebrating our staff and achievements of the past year.
  • We made sure our staff were healthy and well during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Year ahead iconThe year ahead

  • We will improve our services to clients by developing a digital portal.
  • We will continue to provide quality services to clients and keep our staff safe and well during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • We will implement a new direction in family law, focusing on children and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.

Our vision

To be a leader in a legal system that delivers fair outcomes for disadvantaged and vulnerable people.

Our purpose

We use the law to help people, particularly those who are disadvantaged, know, defend, and assert their rights. The Legal Aid Commission Act 1979 (NSW) is the foundation from which we work, and clearly outlines why we exist and what we do. We fulfil our obligations by providing accessible, quality legal services and education to disadvantaged and vulnerable clients.

Our outcomes

Our strategic outcomes will guide our efforts over the five-year period covered by the Legal Aid NSW Strategic Plan 2018–2023. This report highlights initiatives we pursued during 2020–2021 to progress our strategic outcomes.

  1. High-quality, targeted services that meet our clients’ needs
  2. Partnerships that deliver the best possible outcomes for our clients
  3. Our work improves the legal and justice systems
  4. A highly capable workforce that is flexible, developed and equipped
  5. Business processes that are responsive to our business needs

The Hon. Mark Speakman SC, MP
Attorney General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence
52 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000

Dear Attorney,

In accordance with section 13 (1) of the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979 (NSW) and section 10 (1) of the Annual Reports (Statutory Bodies) Act 1984 (NSW), I am pleased to submit the Legal Aid NSW annual report for the year ended 30 June 2021 to you for presentation to Parliament.

Yours sincerely,

Brendan Thomas
Chief Executive Officer
October 2021

2021 Legal Aid NSW Conference

Legal Aid NSW Aboriginal Services Branch Manager Scott Hawkins, Legal Aid NSW CEO Brendan Thomas, Founder and CEO of ID. Know Yourself Isaiah Dawe, and Legal Aid NSW Private Lawyer Quality Standards Unit Solicitor in Charge Melissa Burgess on stage at the 2021 Legal Aid NSW Conference.