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Law Deans call on Government to support legal help

Posted March 19, 2017

Deans of over thirty Australian law schools have today called on the Federal Government to reverse plans to cut funding to community legal centres.

“Community Legal Centres have a significant role resolving disputes in Australia.  They are at the coalface in protecting women and children from family violence.  Many of their clients are disadvantaged and need help” said Professor Patrick Keyzer, Head of La Trobe Law School.

“We urge the Federal Government to reverse their decision not to continue funding Community Legal Centres, and to ensure adequate funding is available so that people across Australia can assert their legal rights and access justice,” said Professor Keyzer

“Community Legal Centres are a vital network of frontline organisations doing important work in the public interest,” said Dr. Jürgen Bröhmer, Dean and Professor of Law at Murdoch University’s School of Law.

“Funding cuts set to commence in July will weaken the mission of university law schools to effectively engage with our communities, as well as the overall efficiency of the Australian legal system.”

“With my colleagues across the country, we call on the Australian Government to reverse the cuts and invest in the legal assistance sector to promote access to justice for people across Australia,” said Dr Bröhmer.

James Farrell from Community Legal Centres Queensland welcomed the Deans’ support. “For decades, community legal centres have worked with law schools, their staff and students to provide legal help to people who would otherwise fall through the justice gap.”

The impact of these funding cuts have been recognized by lawyers, community organization, domestic violence services, churches, and now the Deans of Australia’s law schools.”

“With community legal centres nationally facing a 30% cut in federal funding, the Deans have added their voice to the chorus of groups advocating for the Government to properly fund legal services, and make legal assistance available to people who need support,” said Mr Farrell.