Federal Court building - Adelaide

Federal Court building - Adelaide.

A new initiative has been launched in Adelaide to improve the handling of family law court disputes involving domestic violence.

The new program sees Commission lawyers joining with social support professionals at the Federal Court building in Adelaide. They are working together to address the complex web of legal and social problems often experienced by separating couples in abusive relationships. 

Funded by the Commonwealth government, the program is called the Family Advocacy and Support Service (FASS). It is now operating at the Federal Court building in Angas Street and it will also be rolled out at the Mount Gambier courthouse when the Federal Circuit Court is sitting at that location.

“This initiative recognises that people coming to family law courts have more than just legal needs, especially in matters where domestic violence is a factor,” says Commission Director Gabrielle Canny.  

By combining legal and social support professionals, at a courthouse, we can reduce the chances of people falling through the gaps and missing out on the assistance they need. This increases the chances of problems being identified and effectively addressed sooner rather than later.


In response to rising demand, we have increased the assistance we provide in cases where children may be removed from the care of their parents. 

We have now doubled the number of lawyers handling Care and Protection matters in the Youth Court. 

Whenever a court considers an application to remove a child from the care of their parents, legal aid provides a specialist lawyer to assist the child. The lawyer ensures the child's views are heard, and the lawyer also advises the court about what is in the best interests of the child. 

LSC Board changes

A streamlined governing body is now overseeing the delivery of legal aid in SA. Following changes to the LSC Act, the board of our Commission has been reduced from ten members to five.

Michael Abbott AO QC will continue as Chairperson. He is joined by four other Commissioners: LSC Director Gabrielle Canny, Alan Herald, Alison Lloydd-Wright and Cathy Nelson. In thanking retiring Commissioners Craig Caldicott, Michael Dawson and John Keen, Mr Abbott said:  “I note the enormous knowledge, dedication and commitment to access to justice they have brought to their roles. They have skilfully overseen a period of substantial change in the delivery of legal aid services in South Australia.” 

LSC Deputy Director Karen Lehmann retires

Karen during her early days at the Commission in the 1990s.
Our Deputy Director, Karen Lehmann, retires on May 10th after almost 25 years of service. When Karen leaves, the responsibilities of the role will be shared between two senior management positions.

Our Legal Practice Manager will oversee six areas of the Commission’s work: the Criminal and Family Practices, Care and Protection work, Practitioner Panels, the Whyalla & Port Augusta offices, and the Grants division.

A new position - Chief Operating Officer - will oversee Commission functions including Finance, Information Communications Technology, Infrastructure and Project Management. 

We welcome the Commonwealth government’s decision to restore funding for CLCs and ATSILS. 

The funding includes $39m for Community Legal Centres – particularly for family law and domestic violence services – and $16m for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services. The announcement will provide greater certainty to these organisations and their clients.

Our Commission works with, and strongly supports, SA community and Indigenous legal service providers. They provide essential legal assistance to thousands of disadvantaged South Australians.

The 2017 Walk for Justice will be 16 May.

The largest annual gathering of SA’s legal community will soon take place in the streets of Adelaide.  The 2017 Walk for Justice will be held on May 16. Click here to learn more, participate or donate.

The event takes walkers along a 5 km route through the Botanic Gardens and along the River Torrens to raise money for JusticeNet SA. JusticeNet provides free legal help to some of the most disadvantaged in SA, including those experiencing disability, poverty or risk of homelessness, as well as asylum seekers and people representing themselves before the courts.     

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Legal Services Commission SA · 159 Gawler Place · Adelaide, SA 5000 · Australia

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