News & Media Releases

PRESS RELEASE – FREE LEGAL SERVICES IN HIGH DEMAND

Peninsula Community Legal Centre is experiencing high demand for free legal services at its Cranbourne office.

Chief Executive Officer, Helen Constas, says:

“Peninsula Community Legal Centre has been providing free legal services to the Cranbourne and surrounding communities for almost 20 years. Recognising the need for local, free legal services, the Victorian Government provided funding for the Centre to open a branch office in Cranbourne in 2005.

The Centre’s Cranbourne office operates five days and one evening each week, offering free legal advice on most areas of law, with ongoing assistance targeted to assist clients experiencing disadvantage. The Centre also offers dedicated Family Law, Child Support, Family Violence, Tenant and Consumer Programs, and a range of community legal education and special projects.

In the past year at our Cranbourne branch, we have experienced an increase of around 25% in clients seeking help with debts and bankruptcy, and our family law services are continually in high demand.

Peninsula CLC’s Family Law Program, which provides duty lawyer services at the nearby Dandenong Family Law Courts, as well as advice and ongoing assistance, has been under increased pressure as a result of reduced Victoria Legal Aid funding for family law matters, which has also meant that a number of private lawyers have opted out of doing legal aid work. We have observed an increase in self-represented litigants, adding to pressures on duty lawyer services. In the past financial year, we had an increase of around 16% in client activities at the Dandenong Family Law Courts.

Given the current funding shortages at Victoria Legal Aid, and impact of the global financial crisis, we can expect the already high demand for our free legal services to further increase in the coming year.”

END.

24 July 2009

Contact: ANDREA FLORANCE MANAGER – VOLUNTEER & EDUCATION PROGRAMS PENINSULA COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE INC. Tel: (03) 9783 3600 Extension 34