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The Commission receives funding from:

The large majority of funding (approximately 80%) comes from the Commonwealth and South Australian governments.

Government Funding

Both the Commonwealth and State governments provide funding to the Commission to enable it to carry out its functions. Commonwealth Government funding is used for Commonwealth related legal matters and specific Commonwealth projects and State Government funding is used for State related legal matters and specific State projects.

Funding from the Commonwealth Government is provided under the National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services. The current Agreement commenced on 1 July 2015 and expires on 30 June 2020. Over the life of the Agreement the Commonwealth Government will provide funds to the Commission of approximately $80m.

The State Government funds the Commission through the State budget process, providing base funding of approximately $110m from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2020.

In addition, both the State and Commonwealth governments provide–

  • funding for specific projects, and
  • reimburse the Commission for expensive cases in accordance with Agreements with both governments.

Legal Practitioners Act 1981 Funding

The Legal Practitioner's Act 1981 (SA) provides for the Commission to receive a percentage of the funds in the statutory interest account maintained under that Act.

The Commission may, at the discretion of the State Attorney-General and the Law Society of South Australia, also receive a percentage of the excess funds held in the Legal Practitioner's Fidelity Fund. The funds generated pursuant to the Legal Practitioner's Act are considered to be State funds for the purpose of reporting State and Commonwealth income.

Self Generated Funds

Case related funds

The Commission recoups as much of the expense of providing legal representation as it can from the person receiving the representation (within the limit of what that person can afford to pay).  Each person who receives legal representation is required to pay an initial contribution towards their legal expenses. The amount of the contribution is determined by reference to the applicant's means and the expected cost of the services the Commission is to provide. The contribution is applicable whether the matter is conducted by an in-house lawyer or an external lawyer (private practitioner).

Depending on the circumstances, some people are required to make further payments or even full repayment of their legal costs. Where the person (or any person giving them financial support) has real estate, the repayment is secured by the Commission taking a statutory charge over the real estate of the person. The charge is exercised on the sale or disposal of the property by the owner. Statutory charges are not imposed if legal costs incurred are less than $2,280. The Commission also recovers legal costs where there has been a court order awarding costs in litigation.

Other self generated funds

The Commission self generates funds in the following ways:

  • receipt of interest through the investment of funds with the South Australian Financing Authority (SAFA) and Funds SA;
  • sale of Power of Attorney Kits;
  • provision of educational courses, some of which attract a fee;
  • through submissions to external bodies (e.g. the Law Foundation) to receive funding to provide educational services.