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Maximising value through strategic advocacy

By: Bevan Warner, Nadia Harrison, Tilda Hum, Kristen Hilton

This resource is from Victoria Legal Aid in Australia.

The extent to which lawyers should proactively seek to shape the law, as opposed to assisting individuals with an individual legal problem, is a debate that occurs in cycles.

There is debate about what publicly funded legal aid lawyers should and shouldn’t do with taxpayer’s money, not unlike debates about the propriety of judicial activism, as compared to the strict application of the principles of statutory interpretation. What we know from both is that reasonable minds can and do differ.

Competing priorities for limited funding, greater complexity of the law and burgeoning activity in parts of the justice system have brought these divergent views to the fore. One view is that, diminished funds place an even greater imperative to ensure they are directed at tangible services, rather than more esoteric efforts at improving or changing laws. This mindset necessarily views strategic advocacy as non-essential, afforded only when times are good.

This paper outlines the role of legal aid commissions in contributing to improvements to the law. It provides an overview of key considerations in undertaking strategic advocacy work, with reference to the practical experiences of Victoria Legal Aid lawyers who undertake this work on a daily basis.

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Uploaded on: Mar 07, 2016
Last Updated: Mar 09, 2016
Year Published: 2014
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