• John Vizzone

Legal Aid Funding Change to Help Aboriginal Women in Court

Updated: Feb 6

Today the Legal Aid Board formally announced a policy change in respect of the grant of Legal Aid for Aboriginal Women, ending the traditional requirement that funding will only be granted if there is a "risk of gaol".

Under the change, it has been declared that funding will be granted in matters where there is not necessarily a risk of gaol including:

  • Representation in defended hearings such as traffic matters that do not carry a custodial sentence;

  • Representation for defendants in AVO proceedings, and

  • Appeals from the Local Court to the District Court.

Vizzone Ruggero Twigg Lawyers Partner John Vizzone welcomes the news for the indigenous community.

"For our local indigenous communities whether it be that of La Perouse to the south or Redfern in the inner city or elsewhere, this hopefully means greater access to justice by being able to be legally represented," John Vizzone said.

"Just because some serious traffic offences don't come with custodial penalties it does not mean that a person should not be legally represented. For example, taking someone's license off them for a significant period of time can have a huge impact upon someone's financial, mental and physical well-being."

The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research has found that the number of women being imprisoned over the past six years in New South Wales has increased by 50%, however the rate of indigenous women being imprisoned has increased a staggering 74%.

Find out more: https://www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/for-lawyers/policyonline/policy-bulletins/policy-bulletin-2021-3-criminal-law-policy-aboriginal-women-in-the-local-court

VRT Lawyers Criminal Law Team is headed by Partner John Vizzone and Isabelle Worrad. VRT Lawyers is currently on a variety of Criminal Law Legal Aid Panels and is able to apply for funding for your case if you are eligible. If you have a matter you wish to discuss contact us now on 9667 1271 or law@vrtlawyers.com.au

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