Queensland Law Society

Queensland Law Society supports national campaign on legal assistance

Date 01 Feb 2016
Contact Gabrielle Kopke
Phone 07 3842 5903
Mobile 0488 433 884
Email g.kopke@qls.com.au

Today Queensland Law Society added its voice to a national campaign, drawing attention to a crisis in legal aid and legal assistance services around the country.

The Law Council of Australia and state law bodies have rallied together to highlight the consequences of many years of federal funding neglect and cuts which have eroded services to working families in need and those most disadvantaged in Queensland.

Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts said that access to justice was a critical issue for our community.

"It is a hallmark of our Australian democracy that governments have always recognised the need to include, support and give equity of opportunity to those who find justice most unattainable," he said.

"The rule of law, if it is to mean anything, must not be locked away behind the bars of financial parsimony.

"The past 20 years have seen successive federal governments cut the Commonwealth’s share of legal aid from 50% to 35%. This forces increasing numbers of people to defend themselves in court, battle well-resourced corporate or government opponents, or face abusive former partners without any legal assistance."

In Queensland it has been reported that community legal centres last year turned away 80,000 people, which is more than the 50,000 helped, due to lack of resources. Those services particularly face a Commonwealth funding fiscal cliff in 2017.

"More needs to be done to make justice accessible to those who need to access it the most, especially on Commonwealth issues such as family law, employment and debt," Mr Potts said.

"Queensland Law Society calls on all federal parliamentarians, in this election year, to state clearly and unequivocally where they stand on this serious issue of social equity."
For further information, please contact Gabrielle Kopke on 07 3842 5903, mobile 0488 433 884 or via email, g.kopke@qls.com.au.