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Community Legal Education strategy 2017–18

Download the Community Legal Education strategy 2017-18(PDF, 4MB)

Legal Aid Queensland: a leader in community legal education

Legal Aid Queensland is the leading provider of legal services to financially disadvantaged Queenslanders.

Community legal education (CLE) is an integral part of what we do. It supports Commonwealth and Queensland Government legal assistance priorities which focus on:

  • resolving legal problems early
  • increasing preventative legal services like CLE that inform and build individual and community resilience.

This strategy aims to guide our CLE program into the future.

Why it's important

  • A legal system is less fair when people do not understand their legal rights and responsibilities. CLE aims to address this by informing and educating the community about the law.
  • Litigation is costly financially and emotionally. Intervening early when legal problems first arise can help reduce costs in the justice system. Many legal problems can be resolved more easily and at less cost if they are addressed in the early stages.
  • CLE helps people find out where they can get legal assistance when they need it. It helps to reduce barriers that stop vulnerable people from accessing legal help.

Our approach

Legal Aid Queensland's CLE program works with priority client groups and legal problems. Our approach is guided by the following principles:

  • CLE is a key part of what we do.
  • We collaborate with other service providers to reduce duplication.
  • We leverage existing resources to achieve the greatest reach and optimal outcomes.
  • We use new technologies to improve CLE content delivery and communication.
  • Our CLE activities are responsive, focus on priority client groups and are guided by good practice.

Our commitment

Actions that support the strategy's implementation include:

  • administering the CLE Collaboration Fund
  • facilitating community engagement activities with stakeholders
  • leveraging and sharing national CLE initiatives
  • supporting the Queensland Legal Assistance Forum website, which provides a one-stop-shop for information about legal services and resources
  • providing Legal Aid Queensland lawyers and staff to deliver legal information sessions and preparing education resources to assist
  • delivering CLE to migrant and refugee communities
  • using technology to reach out to rural and regional communities via webinars and our accessible website.

Working together

Legal Aid Queensland is only one piece of the access to justice puzzle. We recognise lawyers and non-legal professionals such as support workers play a crucial role in helping the most disadvantaged access the justice system. This is why we collaborate with other agencies to deliver coordinated joined up services, projects and CLE.

We do this by:

  • building relationships with partner agencies through service provider networks and forums across Queensland
  • making appropriate referrals to other service agencies
  • collaborating with other agencies and networks on CLE projects and policy issues.

These relationships help us to:

  • reach priority clients whose vulnerabilities can prevent them accessing legal help
  • avoid duplicating of effort and services in a sector that has limited resources.

Examples of working together to provide CLE include:

  • the Flood and Cyclone Legal Help response
  • Regional Legal Assistance Forum initiatives
  • the Queensland Legal Assistance Forum website
  • coordinating the CLE Legal Assistance Forum
  • partnering with key community stakeholders and peak bodies to hold information forums for community workers.

Delivering community legal education

Our CLE Strategy will be delivered through:

  • web-based legal information and multimedia resources
  • written publications including factsheets and legal information guides
  • legal information sessions and webinars for community members and community support workers
  • collaborative projects that focus on increasing awareness of the law and our services within more hard-to-reach communities
  • participation in community events such as Homeless Connect.

Achieving good practice

Our CLE team will support our staff to achieve good practice in CLE. This means our activities will:

  • be client focused, accessible to specific audiences and responsive to community needs
  • have clearly defined goals and outcomes
  • use resources wisely and be sustainable
  • be collaborative
  • be evaluated
  • be based on adult learning principles
  • be innovative and creative.

Measuring our success

Our strategy will be assessed against performance indicators in Legal Aid Queensland's operational plan.

We will also review CLE program activities through informal feedback and formal evaluation processes. The information gathered will inform our annual plan and guide future projects.

Community legal education action plan

Developing information resources and publications

  • Contribute to Legal Aid Queensland's e-newsletter Head Note to promote new and updated CLE activities and resources to stakeholders.
  • Release new and updated publications, including factsheets and guides to provide valuable legal information to the community.
  • Integrate our web information with our legal information publications to reduce duplicated legal information and improve accessibility.
  • Promote the Legal Aid Queensland website, including the dedicated community workers and carers page, to key stakeholders.
  • Continue to explore using multimedia to broaden public access to information videos and other CLE resources.
  • Maintain Legal Aid Queensland's YouTube channel and increase the number of online video resources.

Delivering information sessions and raising awareness

  • Continue to deliver CLE information sessions face-to-face and by webinar for community workers and other community organisations.
  • Resource, support and provide training to Legal Aid Queensland staff presenting or attending CLE information sessions face-to-face and by webinar.
  • Coordinate CLE forums for community workers in partnership with key community stakeholders and peak bodies.
  • Continue our participation in events including:
    • Homeless Connect
    • NAIDOC Week
    • community expos.
  • Liaise with key community and government agencies across Queensland to increase awareness and distribution of our resources (eg courts and libraries).

Collaborating with the legal assistance and community sectors

  • Encourage collaboration and coordination across the legal assistance sector by facilitating the CLE Legal Assistance Forum and administering the CLE Collaboration Fund.
  • Maintain and improve the Queensland Legal Assistance Forum website, which provides a one-stop-shop for information about free legal services across Queensland, and access to CLE resources and publications.
  • Work with the legal assistance and community sectors to identify options for delivering CLE to migrants and refugees and other priority communities.
  • Coordinate with the National Legal Aid CLE network to progress and localise projects where appropriate.
  • Educate staff from key stakeholder agencies and networks about Legal Aid Queensland services and resources like What's the law? Australian law for new arrivals and the Cyber bullying, Sexting and Facebook-Know the law, know your rights booklet.
  • Develop and maintain community networks to strengthen referral relationships and identify opportunities for collaborative projects.

Coordinating the CLE program

  • Maintain strategic networks to inform CLE activities, including:
    • participating in National Legal Aid CLE network meetings
    • facilitating and supporting CLE Legal Assistance Forum meetings and workshops
    • engaging with key community stakeholders and peak bodies to connect with community workers.
    • Administer the CLE Collaboration Fund round and report on projects funded in 2016-17.
    • Plan and coordinate the CLE webinar program for community workers and LAQ staff.
    • Develop and maintain standard presentation materials for in-house lawyers to use when conducting CLE sessions on common legal problems such as money and debt, relationships and separation, and domestic and family violence.
    • Analyse, evaluate and report on CLE program activities.
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