Increase Demand for Legal Aid Funding? or Political Stunt????? …….. You be the Judge!

On the legal aid website you will note the following:
Increased demand forces changes to legal aid eligibility guidelines in 2013
Date : 11 Dec 2012
Victoria Legal Aid is introducing changes to eligibility guidelines to ensure its services remain financially sustainable in the face of record demand for legal help from the community.
The current economic climate as well as federal and state government commitments to making the community safer, including to eliminating family violence and to improving child protection mean that more people need legal help than ever before.
In the face of this record demand and without an increase in government funding and very little indexation of funding for population growth and inflation, the Victoria Legal Aid Board has had to make thoughtful decisions about who is prioritised for legal assistance. We must manage public funds responsibly.
The new guidelines mean stricter eligibility criteria for some services and changes in the way other services are delivered to clients.
In making the changes, Victoria Legal Aid has continued to prioritise services for the most vulnerable clients and areas where we can make the biggest impact. Changes have also been made to ensure services are provided in the most effective, economic and efficient manner, such as providing representation through our existing high-quality duty lawyer service rather than via individual grants of assistance.
Overview of eligibility guideline changes

The changes affect family, civil and criminal law services and will be implemented throughout 2013. The first changes come into effect on 7 January 2013. Read more about:

  • Overview of eligibility guideline changes to come into effect 7 January 2013
  • Overview of eligibility guideline changes to come into effect during 2013 – dates to be confirmed
  • Victoria Legal Aid internal and operational changes
  • Community legal centre funding.

Note – The information in the links above contain basic information only. Practitioners should refer to the VLA Handbook for lawyers for the relevant guidelines, which will be published on the date the changes come into effect.

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