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Communication Legal Education strategy 2019-21

Legal Aid Queensland provides legal assistance to financially disadvantaged people throughout Queensland. Our services include community legal education and information. We educate and engage with the community about legal issues.

Legal Aid Queensland provides legal assistance to financially disadvantaged people throughout Queensland. Our services include community legal education and information.

We educate and engage with the community about legal issues.

Community legal education (CLE) is a recognised early intervention and prevention strategy to reach our clients and the broader community.

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.

CLE equips people with the awareness, knowledge and skills needed to deal with legal problems encountered in everyday life.

Our CLE Strategy is delivered through:

  • CLE activities and community engagement with priority groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities
  • legal education sessions and webinars for community members and community, health and education workers
  • collaborative projects that focus on increasing awareness of the law and our services within communities
  • participation in community events
  • web-based legal information and digital resources
  • print materials including factsheets and legal information guides.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”
- Nelson Mandela

“Every person has the right to education; it allows people to understand the process of justice and, importantly, allows people to have  meaningful engagements with the justice system. By empowering one person with your knowledge of legal rights, you could in fact be empowering an entire community.” 

Nelson Mandela, ‘Lighting your way to a better future’ (Speech delivered at the Launch of Mindset Network, Planetarium, University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg South Africa, 16 July 2003).

Why CLE is 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 and how to access services.
  • Litigation is costly both financially and 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 helps to reduce barriers that stop vulnerable people from accessing legal help.

Community engagement and collaboration

  • Legal Aid Queensland is only one piece of the access to justice We recognise lawyers and non-legal professionals such as community, health and education workers play a crucial role in helping the most disadvantaged people identify legal problems and access the justice system. This is why we engage and 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
  • prioritising engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, services and communities through the First Nations Strategic Plan work
  • listening to understand and then acting with integrity
  • making appropriate referrals to other community service agencies
  • collaborating with other agencies and networks on CLE projects and policy issues.

 These relationships help us to:

  • reach priority clients who need legal help
  • avoid duplicating effort and services in a sector that has limited resources.
Community engagement values
  • Build relationships and trust.
  • Respect is central and has to be earned.
  • Recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are a diverse group of people and what works for one may not work for others.
  • Recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may be Legal Aid Queensland Board members, staff, legal advocates, volunteers, community partners and clients.
  • Communicate with openness by taking the time to listen, learn, and incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practice in our work.

Achieving quality CLE

Our CLE team will support our staff to achieve quality 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 informed by 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 use an action-learning process to review and evaluate CLE program activities. The information gathered will inform our annual plan and guide future projects.

Our Community Legal Education strategy

Legal Aid Queensland provides legal assistance to financially disadvantaged people throughout Queensland. Our services include community legal education and information.

LAQ's Community Legal Education priorities  

Figure 1: Community legal education cycle.

Action plan priorities 2019–21

Community engagement and collaboration

  • Work within the broader community, health and education sectors to identify opportunities to deliver CLE to priority groups including:
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
    • Australian South Sea Islanders
    • people from non-English-speaking backgrounds
    • young people, eg young parents
    • people with disabilities and low literacy
    • people in regional, rural and remote
  • Encourage collaboration and coordination across the legal assistance sector by:
    • convening the CLE Legal Assistance Forum
    • administering the CLE Collaboration Fund
    • working with ATSILS and key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service providers
    • participating in Regional Legal Assistance Forums (RLAFs) to progress and support CLE activities in regions
    • participating in the National Legal Aid CLE network to progress national projects. 
  • Develop and maintain community networks to strengthen referral relationships and identify opportunities for collaborative projects.
  • Educate internal and external stakeholders about Legal Aid Queensland services, how to identify legal problems and where to get help.
  • Maintain the Queensland Legal Assistance Forum website, which provides a one-stop-shop for information about free legal services across Queensland. 

Digital and print resources

  • Liaise with key community, health and education agencies across Queensland to increase community awareness and distribution of our print and digital resources eg to courts and libraries.
  • Produce new and updated legal information publications, including factsheets and guides.
  • Review and update publications and resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to ensure culturally appropriate legal information is accessible.
  • Promote and improve access to legal information on the Legal Aid Queensland website, including the dedicated community workers and carers page.
  • Explore using the National Indigenous Media Service to promote Legal Aid Queensland services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.
  • Continue to explore digital strategies to increase public access to key legal information and services eg podcasts, short animations and Q&A videos for social media. 
  • Maintain Legal Aid Queensland’s YouTube channel and increase the number of online video resources. 

Community events and legal education sessions

  • Continue to deliver well planned, quality CLE sessions face-to-face and by webinar for community, education and health workers.
  • Plan and coordinate the CLE webinar program for community workers.
  • Coordinate CLE meetings and forums with community, health and education workers in partnership with key community stakeholders and peak bodies.
  • Continue our participation in community events across Queensland including:
    • NAIDOC Week
    • Homeless Connect
    • Mosaic multicultural festival
    • community expos.

Skills sharing and capacity building

  • Build capacity, share skills and provide advice to Legal Aid Queensland staff presenting CLE information sessions face-to-face and by webinar.
  • Help Legal Aid Queensland regional offices to extend their networks with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, services and communities.
  • 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, health and education stakeholders and peak bodies.
  • Administer and report on the CLE Collaboration Fund project outcomes.
  • Analyse, evaluate and report on CLE program activities.
  • Build CLE team capacity to enable quality CLE responses, continuous learning and project development. 
  • Develop quality CLE practice resources for LINC to help LAQ staff delivering CLE activities.
  • Encourage all CLE activities, resources and stakeholder engagement to be recorded for National Partnership Agreement reporting purposes.

Community legal education projects

First Nations community engagement and CLE

  • Engage with key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and service provider networks to help communicate key messages and raise awareness about our services, including increasing access to our child protection services.
  • Support and encourage our regional offices to participate in NAIDOC Week 2020 and develop networks with Indigenous organisations in their region.
  • Facilitate Yarning Circles as a cross-cultural process to build connections and trust between LAQ staff and Indigenous service providers and identify CLE opportunities, and support the objective of the First Nations Strategic Plan.
  • Deliver community-based CLE sessions using the Blurred Borders resources (Bail and criminal process, and family violence).

National CLE projects

  • Contribute to National Legal Aid CLE network project development, eg ‘Doing CLE: a practical training program’, Disability Royal Commission Legal Service CLE.

Health Justice partnerships

  • Explore opportunities for CLE team to join-up with existing programs in a health justice context to enable greater access to legal education and legal services for priority groups, eg supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children through partnerships with health services in high needs areas.

CLE in regional Queensland

  • Support delivery of CLE activities in the regions eg Rockhampton LoveBites Respectful Relationships program and Toolbox talks.

Organisational relationships

  • Legal Aid Queensland Strategic Plan
  • External Communication and Engagement Strategy
  • First Nations Strategic Plan
  • Multicultural Action Plan.
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