Working Cheaper, Working Harder: Inequity in Funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services
Indigenous Law Bulletin, Vol. 7, No. 10, pp. 19-22, 2009
7 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2011
Date Written: January 12, 2011
Good legal representation for Indigenous people goes to the heart of questions of access to justice, equity and the rule of law; proper representation represents the ability of Indigenous people to use the legal system to a level enjoyed by other Australians. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (‘ATSILS’) are the preferred provider of legal services for Indigenous people, with nine ATSILS servicing 96 sites nationally. Funding for these services should be sufficient to provide assistance across all legal arenas, from civil law matters, to advice for victims of crime, to representation for those charged with criminal offences.
This paper examines the adequacy of funding available to ATSILS, and the impact of funding constraints on ATSILS’ ability to deliver effective, quality legal services. In order to make this assessment, the authors first examine some special issues in servicing Indigenous clients.
Keywords: Indigenous People, Access to Justice, Equity
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