Strategic directions to improve Victorians’ access to justice

Strategic directions to improve Victorians’ access to justice

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About our Strategy

Legal aid makes society fairer by providing legal assistance to many vulnerable people who can’t afford to pay for it.

Without legal aid many people would be left to deal with the legal system on their own, take on powerful organisations and governments without support, represent themselves in court or give up their rights altogether.

Watch this video to hear why legal and community leaders think legal aid is important.

We can’t help everyone who needs legal aid. In developing our Strategy 2015–18 we applied our values of care, fairness and courage to guide our choices about who we help and how we help them. At its heart our purpose is to make a difference by ensuring that disadvantaged and vulnerable people can benefit from the same legal rights as everyone else.

Read more about our vision, purpose and values.

'We will treat people with dignity and respect, uphold people's rights to fair process and the protection of the law, and ensure people have a real say in the resolution of their legal problem.'

Read our Strategy 2015–18

Read our Strategy 2015–18 (pdf, 1.34 MB) or the accessible Word version (190.42 KB).

Making a difference

Three strategic directions will guide us in working with our partners in the justice and community sector to improve the way Victorians access justice. They will enable us to deliver the most appropriate legal services at the right time, based on client needs.

Invest in timely intervention, especially for children and young people

Helping people as soon as they need it rather than when their lives have reached a crisis point benefits clients and the community. For children and young people in particular, timely intervention can make a real difference in their lives and minimise their risk of becoming future legal aid clients.

We want to see fewer children in the justice system because we know that in the long term that will lead to fewer adults in trouble with the law.

Match services to the needs and abilities of our clients

Legal help can be difficult to access, particularly for people who have complex legal and personal issues. We want to make it easier for people to resolve their legal problems by considering their individual circumstances, and matching our services to what clients need and the consequences they face.

Over the next three years we will work with our partners and draw on their expertise to provide better responses to the needs of Indigenous clients, we will trial a new state-wide non-legal advocacy service for people with mental health issues and revise our family violence service delivery.

Maximise benefits by working with others

To maximise our reach we must do more than just respond to individual clients–we must work to resolve legal problems that affect many people. We will advocate for fairness and balance in the criminal justice system and work with our partners towards a more responsive justice system that responds to changing need and population growth.

'We value a society that aspires to fairness and opportunity and we work towards remedying injustice where it exists.'

What we will see in three years time

In three years time we will see:

  • at risk children and young people receiving a more intensive, co-ordinated service which addresses the underlying causes of their legal problems
  • child protection legal services that focus on more timely support to parents and more integrated help for children at risk of further legal problems
  • more Legal Help information services available to the community as a main entry point for clients to the whole legal assistance sector
  • consistent use of family violence safety and risk assessment tools as well as more and better referrals for clients to support services
  • lawyers and social workers working together to provide a more comprehensive service to clients with a mental illness
  • expansion of co-ordinated service planning between Victoria Legal Aid, community legal centres and other justice partners
  • more legal services in the outer metropolitan fringe and in regional areas with acute needs
  • more consistent, easy to understand eligibility criteria, with more people eligible for legal assistance
  • more Indigenous clients getting better legal assistance.

'We will prioritise children and young people whenever we can.'

Working together better

A commitment to working better with our staff and legal sector partners will guide our approach to meeting our strategic directions. We will:

  • improve, innovate and reform practices to provide better services to clients
  • support our people
  • engage externally for accountability and transparency
  • use evidence and experience to improve legal service delivery.

'We will set new standards of openness with our partners and the community.'

Informing our strategic directions

We have drawn on external research and enquiry from around the world, including the Legal Australia-Wide Survey, which provides insight into the prevalence of legal problems and how people try to resolve them.

We have listened, taken note and applied ourselves to develop a strategy that builds on our strengths and makes a renewed commitment to the community we serve, while keeping our sights on the future.

Find out more about our community research and stakeholder consultation informed our strategy.

What legal and community leaders said about legal aid

Read the transcript.

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Business plan 2015–16

Read our Annual business plan 2015–16 (docx, 583.39 KB) to find out more about our key directions, organisational performance and priorities.

For a quick overview read the Snapshot: business plan 2015–16 (pdf, 1.07 MB) or the accessible Word version (132.86 KB).

To read the 2016–17 Business Plan, see Public accountability.

Strategic Plan 2011–14

Read our Strategic Plan 2011–14 (pdf, 2.18 MB) for details of our key directions, organisational performance and priorities. 

Learn about our achievements in Strategic Plan Performance Outcomes 2011–14 (docx, 417.87 KB).