Australian Innovations in Legal Aid Services: Lessons from an Evaluation Study
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During the 1990s, Australian Legal Aid Commissions introduced a range of new legal aid services designed to address unmet needs while minimising the cost of legal aid. These services departed from the traditional models of legal aid services in the form of legal advice, minor assistance or full legal representation. They included services offered on a group basis, one-off representation by duty lawyers, and self-help kits designed to guide clients through a particular transaction or area of law. Many of these new services were premised on the client undertaking a large part of the work associated with court proceedings themselves. Since they were neither means- nor merit-tested, they provided greater access to legal advice and information to a wider range of consumers. However, the number of people receiving (means- and merit-tested) grants of aid for full legal representation was simultaneously decreasing. This paper reports on the results of our independent evaluation of a range of these new legal aid services, highlighting common themes arising from our case studies and lessons that can be learned by other legal aid providers and policy makers.
Reaching Further: Innovation, Access and Quality in Legal Services
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