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National Strategic Framework for Legal Assistance

The National Strategic Framework for Legal Assistance 2015-20 promotes a unified and coordinated approach by governments and the legal assistance sector to enhance access to justice for disadvantaged people in Australia, and help focus finite resources towards areas of greatest legal need.

The strategic framework establishes five aspirational principles to guide legal assistance policy development, service delivery and sector planning:

  1. Legal assistance services focus on, and are accessible to, people facing disadvantage.
  2. Legal assistance services are appropriate, proportionate and tailored to people's legal needs and capabilities.
  3. Legal assistance services, government services and other services collaborate to provide joined-up services to address people's legal and other problems.
  4. Legal problems are identified and resolved in a timely manner before they escalate.
  5. People are empowered to understand and assert their legal rights and responsibilities and to address, or prevent, legal problems.

The strategic framework provides context to legal assistance funding arrangements. It does not provide government funding, or contain any reporting requirements or obligations on legal assistance service providers.

The framework was developed through the cooperation of the Commonwealth and state and territory governments, with input from the legal assistance sector. Commonwealth, state and territory governments endorsed the strategic framework by majority through the National Justice and Policing Senior Officials Group (NJPSOG), demonstrating a mutual commitment to legal assistance. Victoria supports the principles of the framework but does not endorse it.