Legal aid 1973 to date and Northern Territory legal aid

  • Terence Raymond Dreier

    Student thesis: Coursework Masters - CDU


    The study is basically divided into two parts: 
    Part 1: 
    Researches the evolution of legal aid services in Australia from 1973 to date. The purpose of this research is to determine the effectiveness of the statutory structure providing the service in the Northern Territory (NT) today, given the history of the industry.

    This involves research of published and unpublished studies, journals and texts as well as personal interviews with relevant people in the industry.

    These services are provided in the NT principally by the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission (NTLAC). Other agencies such as the Aboriginal Legal Services and the Community Legal Services also provide these services however this study is of the NTLAC. All States and Territories of Australia have their own Commission with the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department maintaining a national policy and funding role.

    To be able to properly assess the NTLAC as a provider of legal aid services, it was necessary to understand how the concept of a national legal aid governing body was conceived, born and then nurtured to today's NTLAC. Manymistakes were made during that period and it was important that the NTLACbe founded on principles which had been tested to meet the obligations set inthe enabling legislation.

    Part 2:
    Examines, pursuant to the recommendation in Part 1, the effectiveness of theNTLAC in meeting its statutory obligations by surveying a random sample ofNorthern Territory citizens from three geographic locations on criteriadesigned to provide data on people's need for legal aid services. Theinstrument used in this research was the same as that used in a 1 973 surveyand had the same objective and assessment objectives as that study therebyproviding the opportunity to compare outcomes over a twenty three year

    In conclusion, the major observations are:
    ⇒ virtually no change in the incidence of legal problems over the period;
    ⇒ the use of lawyers to resolve legal problems overall has increased slightlyhowever significant changes have occurred in the types of problems notbeing referred to lawyers;
    ⇒ the reasons people do not seek legal assistance are worrying and needattention;
    ⇒ awareness of the NTLAC's purpose and services provided was not high overall and there are unacceptable results in some Non-English speaking background residents.

    In order to interpret the outcomes of this research in any great detail demands that the interpreter be legally trained. The researcher is not. Therefore, this paper presents the data and makes observations on issues, both by way of intra-Territory comparisons as well as time period comparisons, which the researcher believes require further investigation.
    Date of Award1997
    Original languageEnglish

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