Junkuri Laka Law Centre
The provision of non-criminal legal services will take place from an entity now referred to as the “Junkuri Laka Law Centre”. This entity will develop legal services to address the needs identified above. If a separate legal entity is required this will be that entity.
There is an organisation in Queensland that occupies itself with assisting community legal centres (QAILS) and Junkuri Laka is applying for membership of that organisation. There are several benefits to that, such as access to research and other resources, discounts on service products like liability and indemnity insurance, a certain standing in respect of compliance with the legal practitioners legislation etc. Membership of QAILS also includes becoming a member of the national organisation, the NACLC. In addition membership provides a forum of communication with similar organisations and therefore some comparative information on how these things are organised elsewhere. Participating in a State-wide forum is one of the requirements of membership.
It is particularly noted that some community legal centres provide legal assistance in criminal matters as well, while others have developed specialisations, such as human rights issues or a focus on specific groups, such as indigenous people or lesbian and gay legal issues.
Legal assistance with criminal matters is currently provided on Mornington through ATSILS and a private practitioner who is fully funded through legal aid. While these services are free for the Mornington Island residents, the quality of service provision leaves something to be desired, which is caused by the very limited time that lawyers have available to be briefed and the rather chaotic atmosphere on court days, where instructions are taken and representation takes place virtually on the same day, often in very busy and hectic court sessions. The CJG has thus far undertaken several initiatives to streamline legal service provision, and it will continue to do so. Particularly ATSILS is trying to be of assistance, which has already resulted in significant improvements in the quality of service delivery as noted previously. In addition, a CLC can take on a more formal role in the process, even where the actual court work is performed by other agencies, i.e. ATSILS. Negotiations with ATSILS have been started to explore the structure of such cooperation.