Documentation: www.ag.gov.au/LegalSystem/Legalaidprogrammes/Pages/Legal-assistance-review.aspx In 2020-2021, the Australian Government will provide $299.2 million in core funding for legal aid services and CLCs through the NLAP (NLAP, p. 13). This is an increase of $29.2 million in core funding provided through the NPALAS in 2019-2020 (Federal Fiscal Relations: Budget Document #3: 2020-21, p. 69, Final Budget Outcome 2019-20, p. 78). The funds allocated under the NLAP are then increased each year in the forecast, as shown in Table 1 below. . Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), « States and territories again unite over cuts to legal aid, community legal centre funding, » ABC website, May 20, 2015. Simon Corbell, MLA (ACT Attorney-General), State and Territory Attorneys-General protest protest funding cuts to community legal centres, press release, p. 20. May 2015. This work has been prepared to support the work of the Australian Parliament using the information available at the time of production. The opinions expressed do not reflect an official position of the Parliamentary Library or professional legal advice.
Previously, most of the funding for the DVU/Health Justice Partnership was managed directly by the Attorney General`s Office. However, from 2020-2121, funding will be transferred to the NLAP, and states and territories will allocate Commonwealth funds to all legal aid providers currently funded for the provision of existing DVU HEALTH JUSTICE and/or partnerships. NLAP funding for CHDs and Partnerships for Health Justice is increasing from $9.9 million in 2020-2021 to $10.6 million in 2024-2025 (NLAP, pp. 13, 17; Portfolio Budget Statements 2019-2020: Budget Document No. 1.2: Attorney General`s Portfolio, p. 26; Budget Document No. 3, p. 69).
Our experts received more than 50 submissions and met with nearly 250 stakeholders in all states and territories during the review. The objective of the review was to examine the extent to which the MPA supports a mutual legal assistance sector that is efficient, effective, fair, collaborative and coordinated. The Urbis report provides 21 recommendations and a clear roadmap for the development of the next five-year funding agreement. This includes a clearer demarcation of responsibilities between governments; update the Strategic Framework for Mutual Legal Assistance Services to ensure coherence and direction for future reforms; and place greater emphasis on the exchange of lessons learned from implementation models in all legal systems. This year`s budget includes a number of mutual legal assistance initiatives as part of the government`s response to COVID-19, including: . For a discussion of the 2014-2015 budget measure « Legal Aid – Withdrawal of Additional Funds », see: J Murphy, « Legal Aid and Mutual Legal Assistance », 2014-2015 Budget Review loc. cit., p. 115. . For consistency, figures for 1994-1995 to 2007-2008 have been taken from the relevant portfolio budget statements: see e.B. Australian Government, Portfolio budget statements 1995–1996: Budget Paper No.
4.1: Portfolio of the Attorney General, p. 75. Figures for 2008/09 to 2014/15 have been taken from the respective budget results outcomes outcomes: see e.B. Australian Government, Final budget outcome 2014–2015, 2015, p. 77. Figures from 2015-2016 to 2019-2020 were translated from COAG, National Partnership Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance Services, , by the difference of June 28, 2017, p. 1. 10-12, taken and calculated on the basis of funds allocated only to mutual legal assistance commissions. Figures from 2020-2021 to 2024-2025 were taken from the National Legal Aid Partnership, loc. cit., p. 13 and Budget Document No. 3: 2020-21, loc.
cit., p. 69 and calculated on the basis of funds allocated only to legal aid commissions. Other sources provide figures that can vary widely, see: J Murphy, « Legal aid and legal assistance services, » Budget review 2013–14, Research paper, 3, 2012–13, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, May 2013, p. 61. This year`s budget includes various funding commitments related to family violence. The budget continues to fund domestic violence units (VDUs) first established in 2016 (2016-2017 Budget Review, p. 92) – in legal centres across Australia. DVTs and health justice partnerships provide legal assistance and other support to women affected or at risk of domestic violence, including financial counselling, rental support, trauma counselling, emergency shelters, family law services and employment services (NLAP, p. 17; Budget Overview 2016-2017, p. 92; G Brandis (Attorney General), Turnbull Government Funds New Domestic Violence Units, Press Release, 16 October 2017).
Figure 1 shows payments for the provision of legal aid services to states and territories between 1994-1995 and 2018-2019, noting that the increase compared to 2015-2016 is partly due to the extension of the new National Partnership Agreement to funding community legal services.  This would suggest that funding for at least some Aboriginal mutual legal assistance programs will increase slightly compared to previous budgetary trends. . Law Council of Australia (LCA), Small business changes a boon for law practices, but legal aid freeze will access to justice, press release, 13 May 2015. Funding for mutual legal assistance commissions is provided by two main sources – the NLAP (through which states and territories are funded) and the Expensive Commonwealth Criminal Cases Fund (ECCCF), which is managed by the Attorney General`s Office (AGD). . For consistency, figures for the period 1994-1995 to 2007-2008 have been taken from the relevant portfolio budgets. See Australian Government, Portfolio budget statements 1995-1996: budget related paper No.
4.1: Attorney-General`s Portfolio, p. 75. Figures for 2008-2009 to 2013-2014 were taken from the respective budget outcome documents. See Australian Government, Final Budget Outcome 2013-2014, p. 80. Figures from 2014-2015 to 2018-2019 were taken from the respective budget document. See Budget Document No. 3: 2015-16, p. 72. Other sources provide figures that can vary greatly. See J. Murphy, « Legal aid and legal assistance services, » Budget Review 2013–14, loc.
cit., p. 61 and the sources cited in footnote 184. Most of the funding provided by the Australian Government to support the provision of legal aid services to disadvantaged Australians is provided through the National Legal Aid Partnership (NLAP). The NLAP started on 1 July 2020 and expires on 30 June 2025 (NLAP, clause 12). Like its predecessor (the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Aid Services (NPALAS)), the NLAP covers legal aid and funds municipal legal centres (CLCs).  Prior to 2015, the Commonwealth-State-Territory Mutual Legal Assistance Partnership Agreement covered only legal aid services. Funding to the DMA for Mutual Legal Assistance Commissions (Program 1.4 – « Judicial Services ») has been renamed the Commonwealth Costly Criminal Fund.  The decrease in 2015–2016 is mainly due to a 2014–2015 budget measure entitled « Legal Aid – Withdrawal of Additional Funds ».  However, the appropriations allocated for 2015-2016 and beyond the forecasts represent a return to a level equal to the level prior to the revisions to the 2011-2012 budget (as discussed in the review of the 2014-2015 budget), as shown in the table below.  Legal Aid: Commonwealth-funded legal services are provided by state and territory mutual legal assistance commissions through the National Legal Aid Partnership (NLAP) and the Expensive Commonwealth Criminal Cases Fund (ECCCF). .