Policy report

Review of the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program (ILAP) 2015-2020

Final report, February 2019: Prepared for the Attorney-General’s Department
Publisher
Aboriginal Australians legal status and laws Torres Strait Islanders Legal services Cultural awareness cultural competency access to justice Australia
Description

This is the final report of the review of the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program 2015-2020 (the ILAP).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are significantly overrepresented in the criminal justice system and face disproportionate disadvantage across the justice system, including substantial barriers to accessing legal assistance services. By funding culturally appropriate legal assistance services, the ILAP aims to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait people can access justice and can equitably exercise their rights.

The ILAP service delivery principles are:
• legal assistance services are focused on and accessible by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly priority clients, nation-wide,
• quality legal assistance services are appropriate, proportionate and tailored to clients’ needs and capabilities,
• legal assistance providers, governments and other service providers collaborate to provide joined up services to address clients legal and other problems,
• legal problems are identified and resolved at the earliest opportunity before they escalate, and
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are empowered to understand and protect their legal rights and responsibilities and to address, or prevent, legal problems.

Key Findings:

  • In order to further strengthen the delivery of culturally appropriate legal assistance services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the aims and objectives of the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program should be amended to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination.
  • Overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the criminal justice system remains a priority area of need. The future Indigenous Legal Assistance Program should support the provision of greater levels of legal assistance in other areas where possible, but not where this leads to increased levels of unmet criminal law need.
  • The Commonwealth Government should work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services to develop and implement strategies to facilitate greater consistency of Collaborative Service Planning at the national and state/ territory levels in the future.
  • In recognition that a high level of legal need is present and that current funding arrangements deliver cost effective, high quality, culturally appropriate and accessible legal services consistent within the objectives of the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program, future arrangements under the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program should continue to provide funding for organisations such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services to deliver legal assistance services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.

 

Publication Details
Publication Year:
2019