New project puts regional private practitioners in focus

New project puts regional private practitioners in focus

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

We are launching a project to better understand the incentives and barriers which private practitioners face in providing legal aid services, and the impact these have on the health of markets for legal assistance services in regional areas.

Private practitioners are essential to the proper functioning of the mixed model and to ensuring clients have choice in quality representation. Last financial year, practitioners on our panels delivered over 70 percent of grants of aid, with this number climbing to over 90 percent in some parts of the state.

We know however that in some regional locations and areas of law the demand for services outstrips the number of practitioners able and willing to provide them, which impacts clients’ ability to access justice. This project will examine the health of private practitioner markets across the state, including why practitioners do or do not participate in the legal assistances sector and the factors which influence the types and volume of work they take on. The project will also explore options for enhancing and supporting practitioner participation in the legal assistance scheme.

‘One of Victoria Legal Aid’s objectives is to make legal aid available on an equitable basis across the state. By generating a more sophisticated understanding of local market dynamics and practitioner experiences, we’re aiming to build a more sustainable, robust mixed model to give regional people with legal problems the best chance of accessing the help they need.’ – Executive Director Regions and Service Delivery Peter Noble.

Practitioner insights will be critical to this project, and we will be inviting practitioners to share their experiences through consultations later in the year.

More information

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