The Law and Justice Foundation

 
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The Law and Justice Foundation is in its fiftieth year. It was established in 1967 to improve access to justice in NSW, particularly for the socially and economically disadvantaged.  Since 1999, that remit has been partly achieved by giving Justice Awards[1]. This year these presentations will be held on Thursday 13 October 2016. The award categories are:

  • the Justice Medal[2],
  • the Aboriginal Justice Award[3],
  • the Pro Bono Partnership Award[4],
  • the Law and Justice Volunteer Award[5],
  • the Community Legal Centres NSW Award[6], and
  • the State Library of NSW Legal Information Access Centre (LIAC) Centre of Excellence Award.

There is a wide range of nominees in each category. By way of illustration, the nominees for the Justice Medal are:

  • Lisa Ashby Central Coast Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service
  • Richard Brading Wesley Community Legal Service
  • Robyn Cotterell-Jones OAM Victims of Crime Assistance League
  • Veselko Cuic Mt Druitt and Area Community Legal Centre
  • Julie Foreman Tenants’ Union of NSW
  • Michelle Jones Legal Aid NSW
  • Judge Matthew Myers AM Federal Circuit Court of Australia
  • Karen Willis OAM Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia

Stan Grant will deliver the 2016 Law and Justice Address[7]. I will be attending to represent solicitors throughout the State who believe, like I do, in the need for improved access to justice.

Darryl Browne[8]

[1] The Foundation also aims to achieve its goals by:

  • supporting community and other organisations to produce a wide range of access to justice initiatives (i.e. information booklets, DVDs, workshops, research) through financial and other support from its grants program
  • promoting the use of Plain English to produce understandable legal information
  • producing a range of publications which help promote access to justice activity
  • supporting legal system reforms and new justice initiatives by contributing its research findings to policy development.

It pursues these goals because it believes that:

  • a fair and equitable justice system is essential for a democratic, civil society
  • reform should, where possible, be based on sound research
  • people need accurate, understandable information to have equitable access to justice, and
  • community support agencies and NGOs play a critical role in improving access to justice for disadvantaged people.

[2] This Medal is awarded to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in improving access to justice in NSW, either in a range of activities over an extended period, or in work over a shorter period but with exceptional impact.

[3] This Award can be presented to either an Aboriginal individual or a group. The recipient must demonstrate an outstanding commitment to improving access to justice for Aboriginal people in NSW.

[4] This Award recognises collaboration. It is presented to a partnership comprising a private law firm, community organisation and/or community legal centre in NSW which has developed outstanding pro bono legal assistance.

[5] This Award is presented to a person who is not a legal practitioner. It may be presented to an individual or a group. The recipient must have, in a voluntary capacity, demonstrated outstanding commitment to improving access to justice in NSW.

[6] The Award highlights the broad range of activities NSW Community Legal Centrs undertake to provide services to improve access to justice in the community. These activities can include completed or ongoing projects and programs.

[7] Grant is a Wiradjuri man. He is a well known and well regarded journalist, who works for Sky News Australia. In 2013 he published a memoir, The Tears of Strangers, which detailed the political and social changes of Indigenous Australians over the previous 40 years. A second book, Talking To My Country, was published in February 2016. The origins of the book came from the abuse of Adam Goodes in 2015.

[8] I’m a Councillor of the Law Society of NSW. I Chair of the Law Society’s Ethics Committee. I’m Deputy Chair of the Elder Law and Succession Committee. I’m a member of the Specialist Accreditation Board, the Futures Committee and the Nominations Committee, the Working Group on Future Prospects for Young Graduates and the Working Group on Elder Abuse. I’m also a member of the LCA’s Elder Law and Succession Committee and its Working Group on Elder Abuse. The views expressed in this article are my own.

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There are over 33,000 solicitors in New South Wales.

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