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2017 Archived

The dignity of people behind bars should never be negotiable - 20 December 2017

December 17 marks two years since the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the Nelson Mandela Rules, the minimum standards for how we should treat people behind bars. And so it is fitting that today we judge our nation through Mandela's eyes, how we choose to treat the men, women and children who are locked away in prisons across Australia. > More

Guilty Plea Reforms and Impact on Backlog - 6 December 2017

The NSW Bar Association said the reforms, which are aimed at encouraging offenders to plead guilty to crimes early, will not reduce the enormous backlog in the District Court, which deals with the majority of serious criminal cases. More funding for judges and appropriate legal representatives is required. > More

Young and working hard to get out of long-term unemployment - 6 December 2017

Close to one in five unemployed young people have been out of work for at least a year despite trying just as hard as older jobseekers to find employment, a report has found. > More

Doctors, lawyers join call to raise age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 - 29 November 2017

Doctors and Aboriginal legal groups are leading a push to convince all state and territory governments to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years old. > More

Plea for Premier to reverse disability funding cuts as pressure mounts - 22 November 2017

The state government is under increasing pressure to reverse a total funding cut to dozens of NSW organisations that advocate for people with a disability, as Queensland follows suit and the state opposition commits to maintaining the funding. > More

Prisoners living with Acquired Brain Injury - 8 November 2017

The overall population with acquired brain injuries (ABI) are two per cent, yet a study by Victoria Corrections found that 42 per cent of male prisoners and 33 per cent of female prisoners have an ABI. > More

Whatever it takes? Access for women with disabilities to domestic and family violence services: Key findings and future directions - 7 November 2017

The study reported here draws on the experiences ofwomen with disabilities who have experienced violence and abuse and used tertiary response services. It situates the perspectives of women with disabilities within case study sites-domestic and family violence (DFV) and two specialist models that provide tertiary response services to people with disabilities and expands on the promising practice within these services through action research with local groups formed from the sites. This research has informed the development of recommendations and guidelines for improved access and effective practice. > More

Magistrate David Heilpern speaks of vicarious trauma in Tristan Jepson lecture - 1 November 2017

David Heilpern has given a revealing account of the trauma associated with presiding over horrific criminal trials. > More

Banned drivers can now apply to have licence returned in NSW - 1 November 2017

Drivers banned from the roads in NSW can now apply to have their disqualifications overturned under new laws. > More

Online ombudsman for everyday claims, not a Rolls-Royce court: Sir Anthony Mason - 25 October 2017

Former High Court chief justice Sir Anthony Mason, AC, KBE, has criticised the legal system as prohibitively expensive, calling for the introduction of an online ombudsman-style scheme to deal with disputes separate to the "Rolls-Royce" courts. > More

Law&Justice Foundation's 2017 Justice Awards - 25 October 2017

The Justice Awards were held on Thursday 19 October 2017 at NSW Parliament House. The Hon. Sir Anthony Mason AC KBE GBM, Foundation patron and former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, gave the 2017 Law and Justice Address. > More

Peak body welcomes specialist domestic violence unit funding - 25 October 2017

The National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC), the peak body for Community Legal Centres (CLCs) in Australia, welcomed the Attorney-General's announcement of additional funding for six Community Legal Centres to establish and expand specialist domestic violence units. > More

Aboriginal Legal Service Moree, Dharriwaa Elders Group and Gilbert and Tobin win Pro Bono Partnership Award - 25 October 2017

Moree's Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) has taken out a major gong at the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW's 2017 Justice Awards for helping to improve housing conditions for disadvantaged indigenous people as part of a collaborative project. > More

NSW Bar Association calls for special treatment of Indigenous offenders in courts - 27 September 2017

The New South Wales Bar Association wants Aboriginal offenders to be given special consideration by the courts in a bid to keep them out of jail. > More

Financial Rights Legal Centre launches new Motor Vehicle Accident Problem Solver - 17 July 2017

The Motor Vehicle Accident Problem Solver can help people through the complications, pitfalls and hurdles of car insurance. Click on the Motor Vehicle Accident Problem Solver button, answer a few simple questions and the Problem Solver will lead you to the actions you should take and provide you with all advice, sample letters, detailed fact sheets you require. And if you really get stuck you can always email us your unique and tricky question. > More

Aboriginal Legal Service Announces New Organisation Structure - 23 June 2017

The Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Limited (ALS) has announced an organisational restructure which will build a stronger, more efficient organisation in order to meet the increasing demands for high quality legal and support services for Aboriginal people in need. > More

Community Legal Centres welcome NSW Government Funding Boost in Budget 2017 - 23 June 2017

The 2017-18 NSW Budget confirms the NSW government's commitment to increasing access to justice in NSW, in the form of an additional $6 million over two years. > More

NLAF Project Manager Position Recruitment - Applications due by 7 July 2017 - 23 June 2017

The Law and Justice Foundation of NSW seeks to appoint a part-time Project Manager to provide secretariat and project management support to the New South Wales Legal Assistance Forum (NLAF > More

Human Rights Commission welcomes new President - 21 June 2017

The Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC today announced Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM will be the Commission's next President.Professor Croucher has been with the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) for more than 10 years, almost eight of those as President. > More

Law Council of Australia - Political Attacks on Courts a Worrying Trend - 14 June 2017

The Law Council, speaking on behalf of the Australian legal profession, is calling for an end to political attacks on the judiciary, especially in cases where they might be perceived to interfere with matters currently before the courts. > More

Law and Justice Foundation Research Alert - Impact of Legal Problems on Small Businesses - 14 June 2017

Among LAW Survey respondents, 13% of business owners reported business-related legal problems in the previous 12 months. Of these problems, 65% resulted in adverse consequences such as loss of income, through to stress-related illness, physical ill-health and relationship breakdown. This paper highlights the need to support businesses to deal with legal problems in the round. > More

PIAC - Health Care and Immigration Detention Video - 8 June 2017

In this video Senior Solicitor, Jane Leibowitz explains five things you may not know about health care and immigration detention. > More

NSW Tenants Union - NSW Government's Housing Affordability Package - Brown Couch Blog - 8 June 2017

Announced yesterday, the policy has three different components: incentives for first home buyers/disincentives for foreign investors; fast-tracking development at higher densities; and building more infrastructure to support communities. Careful observers will note that tenants continue to be the real forgotten people, as rental affordability doesn't even rate a mention. > More

LJF 50th Anniversary Research Symposium 20 June 2017 - 31 May 2017

The Reshaping Justice: Client-centred service delivery, technology and innovation symposium will examine current issues facing the sector and how evidence-based research can be used to shape legal services that are responsive to client needs and interests. Issues include the use of data for evidence-based decision making and the development of client-centred innovations in civil, family and criminal law. The implications of technology for access to justice will also be explored. > More

National Consumer Fraud Week 2017 - Spot Social Media Scams - 19 May 2017

During this year's National Consumer Fraud Week (15 - 19 May), Scamwatch is providing advice to Australians to help them 'spot social media scams'. > More

AG for Australia George Brandis launches Family Advocacy and Support Services in the Family Court at Parramatta - 17 May 2017

23 Family Advocacy and Support Services are being established by legal aid commissions across Australia, 14 of which are already operating. Legal Aid NSW operates this service in Parramatta and others in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong, and partners with Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services and Relationships Australia to ensure clients also receive necessary social support. > More

Human Rights Law Centre report into over imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women launched - 17 May 2017

The over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women is a growing national crisis that is being overlooked by all levels of government in Australia, the Human Rights Law Centre and Change the Record said in a new report to be launched today. The imprisonment rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women has skyrocketed nearly 250 per cent since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women make up around 34 per cent of the female prison population but only 2 per cent of the adult female population. The report, Over-represented and overlooked: the crisis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women's growing over-imprisonment, calls for system-wide change and outlines 18 recommendations to redress racialised and gendered justice system outcomes. > More

NACLC Welcomes Budget Lifeline for Community Legal Centres - 11 May 2017

The National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) tonight welcomed an additional $39million in the Federal Budget for Community Legal Centres (NACLC), reversing the 30% cut toCommonwealth funding for CLCs that was due to take effect on 1 July 2017. > More

Consumer Action welcomes new Australian Financial Complaints Authority - 11 May 2017

The new 'one-stop shop' financial complaints authority announced in the Federal Budget will help Australians get free, fair and fast dispute resolution against financial institutions.-Australians need one, high quality service to resolve their disputes against financial institutions quickly and fairly. The one stop shop announced today is a sensible move that can help Australians get justice,- said Gerard Brody, CEO of Consumer Action Law Centre. > More

Legal Aid NSW Welcomes New CEO - Brendan Thomas - 6 May 2017

Legal Aid NSW has welcomed its first Aboriginal Chief Executive Officer with the appointment of Brendan Thomas, the current Deputy Secretary of the Department of Justice. > More

NSW Housing 2017 Tenancy Amnesty - 24 April to 11 June 2017 - 27 April 2017

The Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) is running a tenant amnesty for all FACS Housing and Aboriginal Housing Office approved household members from 24 April–11 June 2017. Tenants who declare new sources of income, financial assets, owned property and/or unauthorised occupants during this time period will not have their subsidy backdated, or fear prosecution. > More

National Association of CLCs welcomes reversal of Commonwealth funding cuts due to come into effect on 1 July 2017 - 27 April 2017

The National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) today welcomed the Federal Government's announcement that it will reverse the 30% cut to Commonwealth funding for Community Legal Centres (CLCs) that was due to take effect on 1 July 2017.The Attorney-General and Minister for Women made the announcement in Brisbane earlier today. The announcement includes $39 million for CLCs over three years additional funding under the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services. > More

NSW Government Announces New Additional Funding for Community Legal Centres - 5 April 2017

The NSW Government will save Community Legal Centres (CLCs) from a funding crisis by providing more than $6 million in additional support over the next two years, Attorney General Mark Speakman announced today during a visit to the Central Coast. > More

NSW Law Society launches Future of Law and Innovation in the Profession Report - 5 April 2017

An initiative of the Law Society, it is Australia's first comprehensive report to help lawyers better understand and tackle future challenges and opportunities facing the profession. > More

New fast-tracked process for free legal advice about Centrelink debts - 5 April 2017

This NSW-first initiative will draw on the combined resources of Legal Aid NSW, LawAccess NSW, the Welfare Rights Centre and the Illawarra Legal Centre to deliver expert legal advice to people who have been told they owe a debt to Centrelink, including those who have received a so-called robo-debt or automated debt notice. A new streamlined process allows anyone calling in to the NSW legal information hotline LawAccess NSW in relation to a Centrelink debt to have their enquiry fast-tracked. > More

Law School Deans lobby Federal Government to stop funding cuts to legal assistance services - 22 March 2017

Deans of law schools across the nation have joined forces to lobby the federal government to stop funding cuts to legal assistance which they say will deny access to thousands of people and put pressure on the private sector to plug the gap. > More

New PIAC Report - Home in a Storm about the legal and housing needs of women facing homelessness - 15 March 2017

More resources are needed to address the complex legal needs of women escaping domestic violence, according to a new report, released today (6 March 2017) by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. > More

Law Council of Australia - The Justice Project launched - 13 March 2017

The Law Council will be undertaking a comprehensive national review into the impediments to justice in Australia, focusing on those facing significant social and economic disadvantage in our community. This work will culminate in a final report at the end of November 2017, following a literature review and consultation process. > More

Financial Rights Legal Centre - Sample Letter Generator launched - 8 March 2017

The Financial Rights Legal Centre provides several letter templates that you can use to write to your creditors, insurers or Ombudsmen. The letter templates help you to write to the other party in different situations. You can add your own details such as your name, address and the reasons why you can't pay the money. None of your data is stored, so your privacy is secure. > More

Justice Connect - Ten Days, Ten Calls for Change - 8 March 2017


PIAC - Time to end mental health insurance discrimination - 1 March 2017

Speaking at the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Life Insurance Industry today, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) has called for an end to discriminatory policies and practices in the life insurance industry that have led to unfair treatment of people with mental health conditions. > More

National Association of CLCs is still hoping to reverse funding cuts - 22 February 2017

The National Association of Community Legal Centres is still hoping to convince the Federal Government to wind back planned funding cuts. > More

Unsettled - Life in Australia's Private Rental Market national report launched - 22 February 2017

Key findings from the Report: Renters face insecurity, poor-quality housing and discrimination - 83% of renters have no fixed-term lease or are on a lease of less than 12 months, 62% of people say they feel like they can't ask for changes, 50% of renters report experiencing discrimination when applying for a property, 50% of renters worried about being listed on a residential tenancy database, 20% of renters experiencing leaking, flooding and issues with mould, 8% of renters are living in a property in need of urgent repairs. > More

Legal Aid NSW launches state wide Refugee Legal Service in Fairfield - 15 February 2017

-By helping refugees understand their rights and responsibilities, we hope to give them the confidence to fully participate in Australian life and become self-reliant members of our community,- Legal Aid NSW Acting chief executive Richard Funston said. > More

ALRC - Commissioner appointed to lead inquiry into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration rates - 15 February 2017

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) welcomes the appointment by Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, of His Honour Judge Matthew Myers AM as an ALRC Commissioner. Judge Myers will lead the new ALRC Inquiry into the high incarceration rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, announced by the Attorney-General in October 2016. > More

Closing the Gap Report 2017 - Aboriginal leaders seek new relationship with Government through Redfern Statement - 15 February 2017

In the lead up to today's 9th Closing the Gap Report to Parliament, the leaders will call on the Prime Minister to support the historic Redfern Statement, a road map to better address the appalling disadvantage gap between Australia's First Peoples and non-Indigenous Australians by working with them as genuine partners. National Congress of Australia's First People's co-chair Mr Rod Little comments: -After 25 years, eight Federal election cycles, seven Prime Ministers, eight Ministers for Indigenous Affairs, 400 recommendations, and countless policies, policy changes, reports, funding promises and funding cuts it's time to draw a line in the sand. > More

Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council announced - 10 February 2017

Prime Minister the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion announced on 8 February 2017 the first six members to be appointed for the second term of the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council. > More

Chief Justice of NSW - 2017 Opening of Law Term Address - 10 February 2017

Doing right by all manner of people: Building a more inclusive legal system > More

Message from the NLAF regarding Mr Bill Grant OAM - 29 January 2017

Members of the NSW Legal Assistance Forum (NLAF) are mourning the passing of its former Chair, Mr Bill Grant OAM. In 2005 Bill had the foresight to see the need for and value of the NLAF in facilitating access to justice through supporting cooperation and collaboration amongst services in the NSW community and justice sectors. He was a founding member as CEO of Legal Aid NSW along with CLCNSW and the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW. Bill was Chair of NLAF during the periods that he was CEO of Legal Aid NSW until December 2015. When presenting a gift from the NLAF to Bill on his retirement in November 2016 he was thanked for his leadership, commitment to and support of the NLAF as a Founder and Member from 2005 to 2016. Our deepest sympathy goes to his family, friends and many colleagues in the justice sector. Nassim Arrage, NLAF Chair, 25 January 2017

National Association of CLCs Board announces new CEO is Nassim Arrage commencing Monday 6 February - 25 January 2017

It is with great pleasure to announce that Nassim Arrage will commence as NACLC CEO on Monday 6 February 2017. Nassim has worked in metropolitan and regional CLCs and has represented NSW in a number of legal assistance forums. Further, he has held positions on a number of CLC related and not for profit board and management committees demonstrating leadership, innovation, collaboration, change management, staff and stakeholder engagement and has overseen complex projects. The Board warmly welcome Nassim to NACLC and are very much looking forward to working with him to ensure NACLC is a strong, visible, leading, responsive and innovative national CLC peak. > More

National Welfare Rights Network - Factsheet Centrelink Online Debt System - 11 January 2017

If you receive a letter from Centrelink telling you to go onto myGov to confirm your income, or are contacted by a debt collector about a Centrelink debt assessed by the online system, this factsheet explains the letters you receive, how the online system works, and where you can find help. > More