|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) was a statutory corporation established by the Legal Aid Commission (Amendment) Act 1995 (No.48/1995). It replaced the Victorian Legal Aid Commission (VA 877) with effect from 14 December 1995.
VLAs duties were specified in the Act (s.7) and included:
* ensuring that legal aid was provided in the most effective, efficient and economical manner, and in a manner which dispels fear and distrust;
* establishing local offices and using its best endeavours to make legal aid available throughout the state;
* deciding the matters or classes of matters for which legal assistance may be provided;
* deciding priorities between people and matters for legal aid;
* liaising with legal practitioners professional bodies to facilitate the use, in appropriate circumstances, of services provided by practitioners;
* maximising the use of voluntary services by practitioners;
* informing the public of VLAs services and the conditions which attach to the services; and
* encouraging and permitting the voluntary participation of law students in providing legal aid, under professional supervision.
Victoria Legal Aid has seven divisions:
* Family and Civil Law
* Criminal Law
* Knowledge and Community Resources
* Regional Offices
* Finance and Administration
* Information Systems
The Act also required VLA to control and administer the Legal Aid Fund (s.6). The Fund (s.41) includes all moneys from State or Commonwealth government grants, from funds controlled by the Legal Practice Board, moneys awarded by the Appeal Costs Board, legal costs recovered, income from the investment of moneys in the fund and client contributions to grants of assistance.
The VLA provided services at its Melbourne office, at ten regional offices and at courts, jails and other institutions.
A Board of five directors nominated by the Attorney General administered the VLA. It was a requirement that at least one director have experience in financial management and at least one other in either business or government operations.
Location of Records
For records relating to legal aid services see also List of Holdings 2nd edition, 1985, sections 3.4.4 (Public Solicitor), 3.4.5 (Legal Aid Committee) and 3.4.6 (Australian Legal Aid Office).