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Submissions

We make submissions that draw on research on access to justice and legal need.

We do this to contribute to development of a justice system that meets the legal and related needs of Victorians.


Submission on the Draft National Legal Assistance Service Data Strategy 2020­­–21 to 2021–22

16 November 2020

Victoria Law Foundation was invited to comment on the Draft National Legal Assistance Service Data Strategy 2020–21 to 2021–22.

Our submission is based on our knowledge of access to justice and legal need data, the utility of that data and how data can be used to better inform access to justice and legal assistance policy.

A national data strategy will have a key role in supporting access to justice and equity across Australia and in assessing progress against the objectives and outcomes of the National Legal Assistance Partnership 2020–25 and National Strategic Framework for Legal Assistance 2020–25.

Improved availability and use of legal assistance data is one piece of the policy puzzle. Legal assistance data, however, like all data, has limitations. Other data, such as how the public experiences legal problems, is required to understand how people interact with the law and legal services. One important approach are legal needs surveys, and our submission points to instituting regular public understanding of law and legal need surveys as another significant piece of the access to justice and legal assistance policy puzzle.

Developing a sound national approach, one that will reliably measure legal need and other fundamental legal assistance and access to justice policy issues, however, cannot be achieved without investment of time and resources.


Submission on the NLAP 2020–2025 Draft Client Survey Reporting Guidance

28 September 2020

The National Legal Assistance Partnership 2020–2025 (NLAP) is a funding agreement between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments. NLAP is the principal mechanism for Commonwealth funding for legal services provided by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, community legal centres and legal aid commissions.

One of the requirements of the NLAP is that state and territory governments report the findings of periodic client surveys conducted by legal assistance service providers funded through the NLAP.

Victoria Law Foundation was invited to make a submission on the Draft Client Survey Reporting Guidance, a document intended to support consistent client survey reporting. We based our submission on our extensive experience of empirical legal research using surveys, together with insights from our recent report Apples, Oranges and Lemons: The use and utility of administrative data in the Victorian legal assistance sector.

We highlighted the valuable information that sound client surveys can provide about client experience and service utility, identified data quality, consistency and utility concerns, and suggested a strategy to provide more meaningful and useful client experience, outcome and satisfaction measures.


Submission to Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department in response to COVID-19 pandemic

2 April 2020

Victoria Law Foundation made a submission identifying anticipated impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to justice and legal need in Australia. Just like COVID-19, legal problems can spread and cluster and have potential to increase exponentially.

Our submission identified and discussed the following likely impacts of COVID-19:

  • increased community legal need and demand for public legal assistance should be expected in the medium to long-term
  • increase in the number of people eligible for public legal assistance that will further stretch the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services, community legal centres, family violence prevention legal services and legal aid commissions
  • disrupted access to legal assistance and dispute resolution processes, with many people unable to make use of alternative digital access pathways at risk of falling through system cracks
  • impacts of COVID-19 on legal problem experience and access to legal services must be monitored to ensure access to justice and community legal need is being met.

Submission on the National Legal Assistance Partnership Revised Official Draft

30 March 2020

The National Legal Assistance Partnership (NLAP) is a funding agreement between the Commonwealth and all states and territories. NLAP is the principal mechanism for Commonwealth funding for legal services provided by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, community legal centres and legal aid commissions.

During the consultation process and development of the NLAP, we made a submission recommending further consideration of the data needs likely consequences of aspects of the draft NLAP text.

Drawing on findings from our project to map the use and utility of Victoria’s legal assistance administrative data, our submission identified practical consequences of proposed NLAP reporting requirements, and their impacts on Victorian community legal centres. We further identified and cautioned that many of the policy ambitions of the NLAP would be frustrated by poor quality data and measures, and suggested changes to proposed data collection and reporting requirements to improve data utility.

Further information on our administrative data mapping research and findings is available online.


Submission on the National Legal Assistance Partnership Official Draft

14 February 2020

Victoria Law Foundation was invited to comment on the official draft text of the National Legal Assistance Partnership. Our submission focused on funding and service provision consequences, the roles and responsibilities of the parties, proposed performance monitoring and reporting requirements, financial and governance arrangements and collaborative service planning.


Submission in response to the National Legal Assistance Partnership Discussion Paper on Legal Assistance Service Data Requirements

9 February 2020

Victoria Law Foundation is a member of the Advisory Group to the National Legal Assistance Intergovernmental Committee. We were invited to make a submission in response to a discussion paper on legal assistance data requirements to inform development of the National Legal Assistance Partnership (NLAP). The NLAP is the principal mechanism for Commonwealth funding for legal services provided by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, community legal centres and legal aid commissions.

Our submission was based on emergent findings from recent research to map the administrative data collected in Victoria’s civil justice system and addressed how administrative service data can be managed and improved to meet NLAP objectives.


Submission to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System

1 October 2019

Victoria Law Foundation made a submission to the Royal Commission highlighting the importance of integrated legal, health and broader human services for many people experiencing mental health issues. Drawing on the findings from our recently completed report Law…What is it Good For? How People see the Law, Lawyers and Courts in Australia, as well as other Australian and international access to justice and legal need research, we submitted that for people with serious mental illness more needed to be done to successfully overcome perceptions that courts and lawyers are inaccessible.

Further information on our research and findings on Victorians’ perception of law is available online.