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chris atmore @ChrisPolicyFamily violence needs a smart justice approach, not simplistic law & order #springst #vicvotes #nomoreFVdeaths

ABC Q&A @QandA.@qanda Australia is experiencing a crisis of inequality in access to justice, worsened by Federal cuts to community legal centres #qanda

Federation of CLCs @CommunitylawVic.@4Corners A compelling human story of the need for reform, of the importance of access to justice, and of Isabelle's astonishing bravery


We've posted our media release on the threat to Indigenous Family Violence Prevention Legal Services on the Community Law Australia website. We've also put links there to the releases issued by the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum, the National Association of Community Legal Centres, and the Australian Legal Assistance Forum. Get informed all in one place!

Funding certainty call for Indigenous family violence legal help | Community Law Australia
Funding certainty call for Indigenous family violence legal help Posted on August 22, 2014 by Community Law Australia The Community Law Australia national access to justice campaign calls on the Prime Minister and Attorney-General to guarantee a direct and sustainable funding allocation to the Famil…

Tasmanian Parliament shows strong support for Women’s Legal Service Tasmania

A motion noting that the Women’s Legal Service Tasmania provided an essential free service to women, children and families that is cost effective and that the Federal Government had recently cut funding to the service was moved in the Tasmanian Parliament on Tuesday (19/8/14).

The motion was moved by The Hon Ruth Forrest MLC, who spoke about the importance of the service for women, as well as the value of the information provided to Members of Parliament on “legislative matters that relate specifically to women and their families”.

Ms Forrest also raised concerns about the impact of Federal Government funding cuts to community legal centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services, Aboriginal family violence prevention legal services and Legal Aid Commissions.
Other MPs spoke out in strong support of the motion.

Hugh de Kretser has an excellent blog at Everyday-Law on what access to justice means. Part of what it means is "advocating systemic change that creates genuine, long-term improvements for the lives of the people we help".

Read our responses to cuts to community legal centres in the Federal Budget here:

Attorney-General wrong in media statement on cuts to community legal centres, says national...
Attorney-General wrong in media statement on cuts to community legal centres, says national access to justice campaignPosted on May 19, 2014 by Community Law AustraliaA media statement issued last Friday (16/5) by Federal Attorney-General George Brandis on Federal Budget cuts to community legal cent…

An important part of the work of community legal centres, is systemic advocacy. While most of our resources are focused on giving legal help to individuals, community legal centres often see many clients who experience the same problem. An efficient approach is to work to resolve the cause of these problems. Some examples of the outcomes of this work are:

A legal centre in Victoria documented the conduct of a dodgy lender which was exploiting indigenous people. The regulator removed the business’ lending licence.

As a result of a report by a community legal centre, the ACT Government changed the laws so that people who couldn’t pay a fine immediately, could pay it off over time, instead of losing their driving licence as a result. In some cases this prevented job loss (where a car was needed for work).

The Family Law Council agreed to develop guidelines and provide training for judicial officers after a specialist women’s community legal centre brought to its attention the experiences of a woman who was cross-examined in Court by her abusive ex-partner.

Watch this video for some examples of systemic advocacy in the area of disability – features Mid North Coast CLC and Advocacy Law Alliance.

What is systemic advocacy?

Systemic advocacy seeks to influence or secure positive long-term changes that remove barriers and address discrimination to ensure the collective rights of ...

Welcome to our national Day of Action for better funded free help through community legal centres.

If you have a story of community legal centres helping people who can't afford a private lawyer, we'd love to hear it, or you can tweet it using the hashtag #unlockthelaw

For more on our campaign, read today's media release:

Hockey's "tough" Budget must not target people who can't afford legal help

Tough Budget must not target people unable to afford legal help | Community Law Australia
Federal Budget , national access to justice campaign Community Law Australia has highlighted the risk of further cuts to free legal assistance, when growing unmet legal need instead demands a doubling of current funding to community legal centres.

Join our Day of Action for community legal centres this Thursday. Here's how!

Join our Day of Action for community legal centres this Thursday | Community Law Australia
Join our Day of Action for community legal centres this ThursdayPosted on March 31, 2014 by Community Law AustraliaIris Furtado (SA) with National Spokesperson Carolyn Bond and Nicky Snare (TAS) taking the community legal centre message to the Australian ParliamentThis Thursday 3 April we’re holding...

Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, Diana Bryant, today spoke on 774 ABC Melbourne with Jon Faine about the increase and impact of unrepresented litigants – including in cases of family violence – due to cuts in legal aid. Essential listening.

Court Crisis: Chief Justice of the Family Court Diana Bryant on Mornings with Jon Faine

Court in Crisis: Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia Diana Bryant on Mornings with Jon Faine

Community Law Australia national spokesperson, Carolyn Bond AO, has written a great piece on the contribution of community legal centres and the challenges they face in the new issue of The Brief, published by the Macquarie University Law Society (thanks!). See p13:

The Brief Edition 1 2014

This is the first edition of Macquarie University Law Society's The Brief in 2014. It features articles from student and professionals alike on a wide range of topics such as the king hit law reformation and the continuing need for community legal centres.

Interesting article in the Guardian last week about Tony Abbott's cuts to Aboriginal services:

Here's what we said at the time cuts to Aboriginal legal assistance services were announced late last year:

Tony Abbott’s cuts directly hurt Aboriginal children | Padraic Gibson
Padraic Gibson: Indigenous specialist services have been slashed by a tidal wave of cuts. This has a direct impact on the health and safety of thousands of Aboriginal children

CLCs often work with other providers to help solve connected legal, social, health and financial problems. Read about the preventative work being done at The Royal Women's Hospital with North Melbourne Legal Service

Innovative community legal service in women’s hospital helps to stop family violence | Community...
Innovative community legal service in women’s hospital helps to stop family violencePosted on November 26, 2013 by CLA1Community Law Australia today commended the work being done to address family violence by North Melbourne Legal Service and the Royal Women’s Hospital (the Women’s) through their in...

The Federation of Community Legal Centres is featured in a story on The Guardian Australia today. Read the story and watch the video here:

Victorian prison overcrowding at crisis point, legal groups warn
Jails filling up with non-violent inmates who are denied a chance of rehabilitation and are more likely to reoffend, report says

Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre have released a report into family violence in the region. Yet another example of good CLC work on important issues:

Need to be safe
New report finds women want concerns for safety to be heard and respected.

Read the latest post from our guest blogger, Denis Nelthorpe:

Pilbara Community Legal Service respond to high demand for legal help and financial assistance in Australia’s ‘richest’ regional town:

Low income earners struggle in high priced Karratha
Living in the richest regional town in Australia is not easy if you have to make do on a low income.

Think accessing legal help would be easier with a voucher system? Not so fast says QAILS James Farrell...

‘Coupon justice’ won’t address legal aid crisis
Most Australians with legal problems are unlikely to be able to access the help they need. Unless you’re wealthy and can pay for a private lawyer, or extremely poor and disadvantaged and able to access…

Tassie is in need of more community lawyer support at courts for women experiencing family violence - see our story in The Examiner featuring Women's Legal Service Tasmania:

Domestic violence legal help concerns
BATTERED women in Tasmania are missing out on legal help when it comes to domestic violence matters, Community Law Australia has said.

Just a reminder, if you work in the community legal sector and have positive stories about CLCs helping people, please get in touch via the contact form, here:

About Us | Community Law Australia
About UsRead more about our campaign here. From this page, you can also send a general inquiry, or make a media inquiry.Community Law Australia is a campaign by a coalition of community legal centre bodies led by the National Association of Community Legal Centres. There are around 200 community leg...

Did you know the Federal Court ruled that breaching a 'Do not Knock' sticker is an offence and incurs a hefty fine? Read Carolyn's blog and a summary of the recent news coverage.

Do not knock – a CLC win | Community Law Australia
Do not knock – a CLC winPosted on October 16, 2013 by CLA1All Australians can now choose who knocks on their door – thanks to the work of a CLC.Sick of door knocking sales people? The answer now is simple. You can put a “do not knock” sticker on your door, and a salesperson who ignores it could be f...

Cutting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal services risks entrenching disadvantage for a group with high legal need, read our media release here:

Cutting Aboriginal Legal Services risks entrenching disadvantage | Community Law Australia
Cutting Aboriginal Legal Services risks entrenching disadvantagePosted on September 6, 2013 by Community Law AustraliaCommunity Law Australia today urged the Coalition to reconsider proposed cuts of $42 million to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) as a major blow to a...

CLCs often intervene before crisis point. Read about Tohoa, a woman who risked losing her house before Consumer Action Law Centre helped her:

Greens to demand $842m boost for legal aid services
The Greens will push next federal government to double funding for community legal centres.

The Greens have announced their plan to improve access to justice - but where do the other parties sit?

Greens pledge $842 million in aid
THE Greens will today unveil $842.6 million in new spending proposals for legal assistance services that will form one of the party's main bargaining chips after the federal election.

Read Carolyn Bond's blog post on the crafty techniques of door to door and in-home salespeople. It's no wonder some people find themselves needing a CLC's help to get out of complex and confusing contracts!

Look at today's question in the Cairns Post, bit of a coincidence given around 400 community lawyers are currently in Cairns for the conference! We pointed the questioner to their local centre, but we wonder how many other people don't know about their local CLC...

Great news! Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus just announced $33 million in funding over 4 years for CLCs nationally - a 25% increase in federal funding to CLCs.

Access to justice brought closer with $33 million funding boost | Community Law Australia
Access to justice brought closer with $33 million funding boostPosted on July 24, 2013 by Community Law AustraliaCommunity Law Australia today welcomed increased funding to ensure that community legal centres across the country can service more people in need of legal help.New funding announced by t...

A new inquiry into Legal Barriers for people with a disability has been announced, with Graeme Innes as Commissioner. CLA welcomes this significant opportunity: