“Lives are being destroyed” by legal assistance funding gap

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The Law Council of Australia is urging policymakers to urgently addressed the critical gaps in the legal assistance funding system.

In a pre-budget submission, the Law Council says that at least $300 million a year is required to provide adequate funding for Legal Aid Commissions, community legal centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services and family violence prevention legal services.

There should also be funding to introduce Justice Impact Tests, improve resourcing of federal courts, and establish a National Justice Interpreter Scheme, said Law Council President, Arthur Moses SC.

“Legal assistance funding in Australia is abysmal and in need of urgent review. Some of our most vulnerable people are slipping through the cracks, as the Law Council’s Justice Project illustrates,” Mr Moses said.

He added that Commonwealth funding for legal aid has been cut from $11.22 per capita in 1997 to below $8 per capita today.

“Australia’s family law system is chronically under-resourced, under-funded and overburdened. Families and children are having to wait up to three years, in many cases more, to have matters heard. As the federal courts’ workloads continue to increase, more resourcing is desperately needed to keep up with demand. This must include appointing further judges and registrars, and additional legal assistance,” Mr Moses said.

Among the measures The Law Council is calling for is a review of the resourcing needs of federal courts and tribunals.

DLA Piper publishes global mergers handbook
A three volume guide to help in-house legal teams and others with mergers and corporate reorganizations has been published by DLA Piper.

The Global Merger Control Handbook offers guidance on the regulatory issues involved, including a detailed overview of relevant local rules, methodology, process and timing requirements in 55 jurisdictions across North and South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

“Today even straightforward mergers and acquisitions evolve to require numerous clearances, procedural requirements and substantive tests in different jurisdictions so the need for intuitive, succinct advice has never been greater,” said Léon Korsten, global co-chair of the Antitrust and Competition Group. “Having steered away from the common Q&A approach, we have collaborated on this handbook to offer detailed guidance and insight into these dynamic changes.

Creditors may lose out from KWM UK collapse
The demise of the former King & Wood Mallesons business in the UK is set to leave many creditors out of pocket.

It was two years ago that the UK arm of the verein collapsed into administration, but it seems that there is a gap of several million pounds following the receipt of 159 claims from unsecured creditors.

Legal Business reports a deficit of almost more than £18 million with administrators having set aside just $600,000 for these creditors, deemed to be all there is available after preferential creditors are paid.

Those with priority include some former partners, and staff who are due unpaid wages and compensation for failing to consult on the redundancy process.