|Integrated frontline services|
On 26 November, the Queensland government introduced the Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 ('Bill'). The omnibus bill seeks to amend over 30 Acts including s289(1)(h) of the LPA - the provision for grants to advance law reform. Instead, the proposal is that funds may be applied under this subsection only for the purpose of:
facilitating access to the legal system, legal information and education and legal services for members of the community, particularly economically or socially disadvantaged members of the community.This captures many of the previous purposes of the grants, but not the advancement of law reform. The Bill states that this amendment
reflect[s] changes as a result of the implementation of recommendations resulting from the Review of the Allocation of Funds from the Legal Practitioner Interest on Trust Accounts FundThe LPITAF Review, however, did not recommend removing law reform from the purview of the fund. Even if it did so, this amendment ignores substantial evidence about the strategic nature of investment in law reform work in the efficient and effective delivery of justice, particularly to economically and socially disadvantaged members of the community.
In other words, the proposed amendment directly contradicts the government's stated strategic objectives. This proposed amendment should be rejected.