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Legal Aid Queensland

Our purpose

We give legal help to financially disadvantaged people about criminal, family and civil law matters.

See a full list of what we do.

We are committed to providing a quality service to all our customers, as outlined in our service charter.

How we are funded

We are funded by the Queensland Government to undertake state law matters (ie criminal law and civil law matters). Other sources of funding for state law matters include solicitor trust fund interest, client contributions and interest on invested Legal Aid Queensland funds.

We are funded by the Australian Government to undertake Commonwealth law matters (ie family law matters). The funding priorities set out by the Commonwealth for family law matters stipulate protecting the safety of a child or spouse who is at risk, is to be given highest priority for grants of aid in family law matters. The Commonwealth also stipulates that as far as possible, priority should be given to resolving family law matters through non litigious processes, ie dispute resolution and counselling.

Governance

Our organisation is governed by the Legal Aid Queensland Board and a chief executive officer.

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Our corporate governance structure

Our Board

Our Board is responsible for managing Legal Aid Queensland and making sure we are achieving our objectives. The board is our governing body and is responsible to the Attorney-General.

The board decides our priorities and strategies, leads policy direction and ensures sound and prudent financial management.

We have 5 board members, each with specific knowledge or experience helping us to meet our key strategies and objectives.

Their areas of expertise include:

  • public administration
  • financial management
  • law and legal services provision.

The board is headed by a chairperson appointed by the Governor in Council.

Board members are appointed by the Governor in Council for 3-year terms.

Our CEO

 Anthony Reilly is an experienced lawyer and public administrator who has held senior roles in the Queensland Government prior to his appointment as Legal Aid Queensland’s CEO. Before working in government, Mr Reilly spent many years working as a lawyer, including in community legal centres.

Our governance framework

The Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009 requires statutory bodies have an appropriate governance framework.

Our governance framework outlines the strategies, policies and processes that ensure effectiveness in managing performance, managing risk and managing compliance.

View our governance framework.

Our structure

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Our organisation structure

Our partners

Our partners work with us to help deliver quality legal services to people in Queensland. They are a first point of contact for many people looking for information and advice about legal aid and may provide representation on our behalf.

Our partners include:

Our history

"The general principles behind the concept of legal aid are that all people have the right to legal representation and other legal services; and that no-one should be denied justice merely because they are unable to afford the services they need."
Minister for Justice Mr Lickiss
Introduction of Queensland Legal Aid Bill
24 May 1978

The Legal Aid Office (Queensland) was established in December 1979, and evolved from state and federal government recognition of the need to provide financially and socially disadvantaged people with access to legal representation and other legal services.

Before it was established, state and federal governments funded different organisations to provide these services. The state based organisation—the Legal Assistance Committee of Queensland—operated from 1965 to December 1979, and was only granted aid for state law matters. All case work was referred to private practitioners. It was funded from a percentage of interest earnt on Solicitors' Trust Accounts.

The federal government established the Australian Legal Aid Office in 1974. It granted aid to people falling under Commonwealth Government responsibility including:

  • children
  • migrants
  • aborigines
  • social security recipients.

The relationship between these two separate organisations was confusing to clients and the legal profession.

To improve the efficiency of legal services being offered to financially and socially disadvantaged people, responsibility for administration of the legal aid offices was handed to the states in 1978. This decision facilitated the merger of the 2 organisations and the establishment of the Legal Aid Commission of Queensland. As the commission was a statutory authority, it was accountable to the state minister but independent of any governmental direction or influence.

In 1991, a state government initiative merged the Legal Aid Office (Queensland) with the Public Defender's Office. The newly expanded Legal Aid Office provided clients with access to family, civil and all criminal law services.

Legal Aid Queensland was established in 1997 under the Legal Aid Queensland Act 1997 and is a statutory authority managed by its own board. It replaces the former Legal Aid Office (Queensland), which was run by the Legal Aid Commission of Queensland.

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