Victoria Legal Aid welcomes the government's responses to the Access to Justice Review

Victoria Legal Aid welcomes the government's responses to the Access to Justice Review

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

We welcome the State Government’s responses to recommendations in the Access to Justice Review, announced today.

The announcement represents a very welcome commitment to improve access to justice for all Victorians particularly the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in our community.

The Access to Justice Review report acknowledged the essential nature of legal assistance and the vital role Victoria Legal Aid plays in making our system of laws and their operation fairer and accessible to all. It is a role we take on trust on behalf of the community and we are pleased that the response will continue efforts towards more transparent, coordinated and effective services to the community.

We know many people are unable to access the assistance they require, and that this has significant flow-on costs for the whole community. The announcement today will improve access to justice in Victoria and comes on top of recent budget funding to support people affected by family violence and vulnerable youth to obtain legal help when they need it.

The extra funding will enable private lawyers to play a greater role representing people in court. It will also enable more support for duty lawyers who play a vital role in courts as first responders for people in acute need, who turn up at busy and congested courts bewildered and confused about what to expect.

Expanding our ability to provide legal information through our website and Legal Help telephone service will also help Victorians to solve their problems and improve services that are currently stretched too thin. We are especially pleased that more people will be able to access interpreter services who need them and that VCAT will get a boost to modernise and to improve its processes for small claims.

This announcement won’t solve every problem in the justice system but it certainly helps and we are looking forward to working on implementation with all our stakeholders, including building on our commitment to transparency and openness, to increase confidence in the community about what legal aid does in their name.

More information

Read the State Government's response.

Read more about the Access to Justice Review on our website.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry please contact Manager Program Communications Jasmine Fiegehen via jasmine.fiegehen@vla.vic.gov.au or 0416 922 229.