At least 45,000 Australians have been forced to represent themselves in court, often up against powerful and well-funded legal teams, due to the crisis in legal aid that has seen hundreds of millions of dollars ripped from these vital services.
The Coalition announcement today that it will provide $30 million for legal assistance services, as part of its National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children, is a commendable first step in addressing the funding crisis in legal aid.
With the election in full swing and neither party responding to the legal aid funding crisis, lawyers from across Australia will hold rallies and events in major cities during Law Week (16-20 May).
Legal aid continues to be underfunded to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars following the release of the 2016-17 federal budget. With the budget intended to be directed toward growth and economic sustainability, Law Council President, Stuart Clark AM, said budgetary inaction on legal aid was a false economy.