Griffith Law School walks to raise money amid legal aid funding crisis

Staff and students from Team Griffith Law School turned out to fundraise for QPILCH

Griffith Law School staff and students rose early last weekto join other local lawyers in their support for the Queensland Legal Walk.

Held annually as part of National Law Week, lawyers across Queensland walked simultaneously to raise funds for the Queensland Public Law Interest Clearing House.

This year’s funds will be used to support QPILCH’s Mental Health Law Practice, which provides free legal advice and assistance to people with mental illness who cannot afford a private lawyer.

Participants raised more than $43,000, to assist QPILCH provide its legal services to some of the most disadvantaged Australians in our community. This year’s funding more than doubles the money raised from last year.

While support for the annual Queensland Legal Walk has increased across the state, it takes place amid what the Law Council of Australia describes as a ‘funding crisis’ for legal aid.

The Law Council of Australia launched the Legal Aid Matters campaign during National Law Week, to call for a commitment from ‘whoever wins the election’ to greater funding for legal aid services across Australia.

The campaign has broad support from a range of legal industry bodies that are concerned that there is a real risk that without further funding ordinary Australians will be locked out of the justice system.

Law Council of Australia President Stuart Clark spoke to the ABC about what was at stake.

“Every time a person goes to court without legal representation, they’re at a real disadvantage,” he said.

“It could be in the family court, it could be in a criminal court, it could be in a civil court. We know the fact people are going to court unrepresented is an absolute tragedy. It is, quite simply destroying lives.”

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