This book provides a comprehensive account of the modern Australian legal aid system. It charts the twists and turns of policy and practice over the past 30 years with a particular focus on: the reaction of the legal profession to conflicts and debates about legal aid policy and services and the way in which this has both reflected and accentuated major shifts in the social and political structure of the profession itself; the development of community legal centres from radical fringe organisations to accepted legal practices, which provide a value for money service and work in alliance with the big city firms; the constancy of government calls for fiscal restraint and the recurrent lack of clear objectives despite widely varying approaches by different administrations.
This book is a timely reminder that access to justice is, first and last, a matter of human rights. Without accessible legal aid, the legal system founders and the rule of law loses its meaning. Justice Chris Maxwell, President, Court of Appeal, Victoria, from the Foreword