MORE LEGAL AID LAWYERS TO MAKE JUSTICE FASTER
More in-house Legal Aid NSW lawyers will make access to justice faster in areas across New South Wales, including Lismore, Member for Lismore Thomas George and Attorney General Gabrielle Upton today announced.
Legal Aid NSW will appoint more in-house criminal lawyers at its regional offices who will undertake committals in serious indictable matters, like robberies and sexual assault matters at Local Courts across NSW.
Mr George said that Legal Aid NSW in Lismore would be one of the regional offices to benefit from the appointment of an additional lawyer commencing in January 2016.
“This is great news for the Northern Rivers region that will mean an increase in the efficient running of the court in Lismore and result in fewer delays for our criminal justice system,” Mr George said.
Ms Upton said this measure is the latest step the Government is taking to slash the District Court backlog.
“Appointing more Legal Aid NSW lawyers is a practical solution that will help encourage early guilty pleas, cut the backlog and ensure people get access to justice faster.”
Legal Aid NSW provides representation, either through in-house or via private lawyers, to eligible defendants appearing in criminal proceedings at all Local Courts in NSW.
Analysis of case outcomes indicates that matters dealt with by in-house Legal Aid lawyers are more likely to be resolved at an early stage, compared to those legally aided matters by panel lawyers.
The additional positions will be located in eight regional offices including Campbelltown, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Gosford, Lismore, Orange, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga and service more than 20 additional Local Courts across NSW.
Bill Grant, Chief Executive Officer of Legal Aid NSW, said Legal Aid was working with other participants in the justice system to help reduce the backlog in the District Court.
“These new Legal Aid lawyers will undertake only committals of serious indictable matters; existing arrangements for duty work and defended hearings will continue,” Mr Grant said.
For more information about Legal Aid NSW, visit http://www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/