January 16, 2017

Legal Year Officially Declared Open In Geelong

The legal year has officially kicked off in the state’s second largest city with a traditional ceremony at the Geelong Law Courts today.

Parliamentary Secretary for Justice Ben Carroll joined judicial officers, indigenous elders and legal professionals from the Geelong region to attend the annual ceremonial sitting.

The Geelong community is served by a strong and diverse legal sector, including private firms, Victoria Legal Aid, and community legal centres.

In 2016, the Andrews Labor Government conducted a review of access to justice to ensure the system is fairer and more accessible for disadvantaged and vulnerable Victorians across the state.

The review, completed in October, made 60 recommendations including providing better access to basic legal information, the use of technology in dispute resolution, and the resources available to legal assistance providers.

The review also recommended the provision of more targeted pro bono services, including the strengthening of links between community legal centres and the private profession.

Pro bono work is one way the legal sector helps Victorians achieve access to justice, particularly in regional Victoria.

Law firms on the Victorian Government Legal Services Panel continue to make a record pro bono contribution to the community, with Geelong-based firm Harwood Andrews represented on the panel.

Quotes attributable to Parliamentary Secretary for Justice Ben Carroll

“It’s fantastic to officially open the 2017 legal year in Geelong with a renewed focus on providing pro bono services to those most in need.”

“The Andrews Labor Government is working to ensure that Victorians, particularly those who are disadvantaged, have improved access to the justice system.”

“I commend the ongoing contribution by lawyers in the Geelong area for their service to the community, particularly their volunteer work in the community legal sector.”