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Making the Legal System More Responsive to Community: A Report on the Impact of Victorian Community Legal Centre (CLC) Law Reform Initiatives

88 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2014  

Liz Curran

Australian National University - ANU College of Law

Date Written: May 31, 2007

Abstract

The research and report are auspiced by the West Heidelberg Community Legal Service (WHCLS) and were privately funded. The Legal Service has a long history of undertaking law reform and community legal education in conjunction with its partner, La Trobe Law through a student Clinical Legal Education Program based at the WHCLS.

The aims in undertaking this research are:
1. To document some of the history of legal centre law reform activities in Victoria.
2. To examine the interaction between client experience of the legal system and law reform responses by examining six snapshots of law reform activities undertaken by the community legal service sector in Victoria.
3. To examine the impact and role of law reform and community legal education in improving the justice system and enabling community participation.

The six selected snapshots analysed for this report, illustrate the CLCs have a unique role in identifying through their casework, clients’ experiences that are problematic, unfair, costly, inefficient or unjust. CLCs bring these experiences into the view of governments, the public, media and industry and work for the improvement of the justice system so that it is responsive to community need. CLCs are often unpopular for doing this and such a role is not an easy one. Often the issues when first identified and raised by CLCs seemed mundane, uninteresting or incredible. CLCs despite this have kept important issues on the agenda. They have maintained their persistence when matters slipped off the agenda and through their constructive suggestions the laws and their administration have been improved, streamlined and become more responsive to individuals in society.

Keywords: law reform, social justice, policy, responsiveness to community, advocacy

JEL Classification: K40, 132, 138

Suggested Citation

Curran, Liz, Making the Legal System More Responsive to Community: A Report on the Impact of Victorian Community Legal Centre (CLC) Law Reform Initiatives (May 31, 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2395076 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2395076

Elizabeth Curran (Contact Author)

Australian National University - ANU College of Law ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia
+61 404106614 (Phone)

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