Community legal centres (CLCs) are independent community organisations that provide free advice, casework and legal education to their communities. These centres are an integral part of the justice sector.
Some are generalist centres that assist people with issues such as credit and debt, family law, family violence, victims of crime compensation and neighbourhood disputes, while others specialise in particular areas of law, such as tenancy, consumer, employment, human rights, elder abuse, environmental and immigration law.
Via the Community Legal Services Program (CLSP), we grant and administer funding to 43 centres, , the and the . In 2020–21, we administered approximately $57m to these centres. This funding includes baseline funding and special purpose funding attached to specific service delivery.
Community Legal Services Program
CLSP supports CLCs to provide legal assistance and associated activities – increasing access to justice in Victoria. The CLSP does this by administering funding (grants) to CLCs on behalf of the Commonwealth and State Governments as well as Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) funded grants.
- increase the transparency through which CLSP grants are made and administered by documenting the funding principles which VLA uses to make CLSP funding decision
- clarifying the minimum eligibility requirements for organisations in receipt of CLSP funds, and
- outlining the standard process for making new CLSP grants.
Community Legal Services Program (CLSP) Reform Project
In 2017, we initiated a review of the CLSP to ensure it aligned with current expectations regarding the planning and delivery of legal services and accountability for expenditure of public money. (Phase one of the CLSP Reform Project).
In Phase two of the CLSP Reform Project, we consulted with the sector and based on the sector’s feedback, developed and introduced a new service agreement and supporting guidance documents, which embedded funding principles from 1 July 2020.
The reform project is an ambitious program of change. We acknowledge that it will take time for changes to be fully integrated into work practices. In Phase three we are allowing two years (2020–21 and 2021–22) for Victoria Legal Aid's CLC Funding and Development Program to support centres to adapt to new processes and to meet the new requirements. As part of Phase three, we are increasingly focusing on how we can support the professional development of the sector through capacity building activities.
Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.
We help Victorians with their legal problems and represent those who need it most. Find legal answers, chat with us online, or call us. You can speak to us in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also find more legal information at www.legalaid.vic.gov.au
Reviewed 02 November 2022