Expanding legal advice services into the Port Augusta area

The University of Adelaide Law School runs five free legal advice clinics as part of the Clinical Legal Education (CLE) subject.

Lauren, Rory, Tayla, Kateleen, Victoria and Matthew with Magistrate Anna Jackson and Registrar Chloe Hunter (Port Augusta Magistrate’s Court)

Lauren, Rory, Tayla, Kateleen, Victoria and Matthew with Magistrate Anna Jackson and Registrar Chloe Hunter (Port Augusta Magistrate’s Court)

Staffed by final year law students under the supervision of experienced solicitors, the students interview and provide written legal advice to clients. Last semester, in the wake of COVID-19, all of these clinics were required to go online. Now, the clinics run a mixture of face to face interviews in addition to online video interviews run on the Zoom platform. In this time of rapid adjustment, CLE students have learnt that providing legal advice no longer needs to be limited to metropolitan Adelaide.

The Law Council of Australia identified rural, regional and remote communities (RRRC) as facing difficulties in accessing legal services. We believe the CLE program may have a valuable part to play in improving access to justice in RRRC as well as broadening student awareness to working in RRRC.

To explore the prospects of the Adelaide Law School CLE programs expansion in servicing RRRC’s, seven law students visited Port Augusta for two days earlier this week. We consulted with various service providers in the area to understand how the CLE program could best serve the community and how a partnership between the CLE program and the current service providers may work. 

During our time in Port Augusta, we explored ways service providers could host meetings and how our work could complement that of the excellent local support workers. We believe this will have the benefit of not only assisting the client with their legal matter, but in upskilling local support workers.

We were fortunate to speak with Magistrate Anna Jackson and Registrar Chloe Hunter from the Port Augusta Magistrate’s Court, who provided valuable insight into the Court and the types of matters heard.

Tayla, Rory and Matthew with Michael and Christy (Uniting Country)

Tayla, Rory and Matthew with Michael and Christy (Uniting Country)

Consultation meetings were also held with Michael and Christy from Uniting Country SA; Tina from the Port Augusta Library; Major Gaye Daye from the Salvation Army; Anita and Shannon from UniHub Port Augusta; and Mark Sutton from Outback Communities Authority.

We wish to thank all the service providers for making themselves available for the meetings and their hospitality. Their insight and understanding of the Port Augusta area will be crucial in informing the next stages of the project.

We look forward to working with these service providers in the future.

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