Author(s): Elizabeth Curran
This is a report of the Consumer Action Law Centre. Dr Liz Curran was an adviser on the project.
The focus of this evaluation sits within a quality framework of continuous development, reflection and improvement of that service.This evaluation report and the quality framework recognises the extent of unmet legal need in Victoria and the critical role non-legal agencies can play in helping meet that need.
In addition to providing free legal assistance to individuals, Consumer Action Law
Centre (CALC) provides legal secondary consultations (LSC) to Victorian financial counsellors and other community workers through a dedicated telephone legal advice service.
Legal Secondary Consultations (LSC) are defined as where a lawyer offers a non-legal professional (such as a doctor, nurse, youth worker, social worker or financial counsellor) legal advice or information on legal processes (such as what happens at court, and how to give evidence or structure reports for a court to provide the required considerations), or on their professional and ethical obligations, or guides the non-legal professional through tricky situations involving their client or their work for clients. Critically, LSCs can build capacity in non-legal professionals likely to come into contact with the most challenging problems, so as to be able to identify or quickly verify that a problem is capable of a legal solution.
This orientation towards collaborative, holistic and joined-up service delivery is reflected in CALC’s current strategic plan, which includes actions to explore relationships with other community support agencies and catalyse new approaches to meeting unmet need and ‘hard-to-reach’ communities.
Dr Curran was adviser on the project and the report and data collection was undertaken by the Consumer Action Law Centre who have given the author permission to place the report on SSRN, so as to share with others how LSC can enable non-legal professional support, enhance multi-disciplinary practice and reach more clients who are currently excluded from gaining legal help for due to a number of barriers.