Proposed cuts to legal aid funding are alarming

Press Release - 4 December 2012

Please read and sign the petition below to stop cuts to Victorian Legal Aid Funding.

Proposed cuts to legal aid funding are alarming warns Liberty Victoria President Jane Dixon SC.

The breadth of the proposed cuts is likely to lead to injustice for those who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer to plead their case in court.

What is proposed is a dramatic change to the delivery of services to clients who may be in serious trouble although not at the stage where immediate imprisonment is said to be the most likely outcome.

Of course in the end it is always a matter for a court to decide whether clemency will be extended, and the legal aid process may not accurately predict whether a given case is one where imprisonment is the likely outcome or not.

Victorian prisons and police cells are already over-crowded, and that is only going to get worse if more people are locked up through a lack of appropriate and timely legal assistance.

Often those most at risk of imprisonment are people with multiple and complex needs where intervention by a lawyer can make a difference to un-raveling their legal difficulties.

“It is regrettable that Victoria Legal Aid once again finds itself in the position of needing to make less money go further” Ms. Dixon said.

Liberty Victoria calls on the Federal government to restore an appropriate level of contribution  to Victorian legal aid services.

PLEASE  sign this petition to stop cuts to Victorian legal aid funding.