This report considers the interface between generalist and specialist community legal centres in Queensland, in an endeavour to identify ways to support Queensland community legal centres to work more effectively together to deliver equitable and accessible specialist legal services in the public interest.
In its review of the Legal Practitioner Interest on Trust Account Fund (LPITAF), the Queensland Department of Justice and Attorney General endorsed a mixed model of generalist and specialist community legal centres, provided the services operate cohesively within a unified cooperative service delivery framework. A core focus of the LPITAF Report was the promotion of equitable access to specialist legal assistance services throughout Queensland. This report responds to this call, developing a framework of options aimed at enhancing access to specialised legal services.
This report identifies the difference between ‘specialist’ and ‘generalist’ community legal centres, and the context in which they operate. It identifies the challenges for providing equitable access to services in a vast and decentralised state like Queensland, and discusses some of the alternative frameworks and models that have been developed in other jurisdictions.
This project also focuses on ways in which information and communication technologies can be used to improve access, and an overview of the use of these technologies.
Key options designed to enhance equity of access to specialist services have been developed. For each of these options, this report sets out the supporting research literature. Many of the options were tested in a case study by the Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI) Mental Health Legal Service, and this report describes the case study activities, and reflects on considerations for implementation, before making recommendations for each option.