The Piddington Justice Fund

In 2020 we launched a new fund for community legal centres, in 2021 we are pleased to make our first contributions.

The Piddington Justice Fund was created to cover the costs of community legal centres (CLCs) that otherwise would not be included in their existing financial arrangements.

We all know that CLCs do incredible and often difficult work for those most in need of legal advice in our community. We also know that they run on the smell of an oily rag.

Rather than prescribing what the Fund could be used on, we asked CLCs to tell us what they needed and wanted covered. We were open-minded to their needs.

Earlier in 2021, the Committee of The Piddington Society endorsed the disbursement of the Fund to CLCs.

We know each of these CLCs well. We know they are doing good work. And we know they will use these funds in the spirit they were intended: to help them expand access to justice.

The Piddington Justice Fund, and Piddington’s other Justice Projects, are only possible through the support of the profession who provide us with ongoing support, particularly through attendance at our events. We thank the profession for their engagement in our work.

Fremantle Community Legal Centre included as part of a funded position, the introduction of a new initiative through consultation and round-tables with First Nations people experiencing domestic violence. This builds on previous work they had done to start this project.

The project focuses on the under-representation of First Nations victims in accessing maintsream family and domestic violence (FDV) services available.

There are numerous services available for victims living with or who have survived FDV yet there is a significant under representation of Aboriginal clients accessing mainstream community legal services who offer these services.

While great emphasis is placed on providing a culturally appropriate service, if a substantial number of the target client demographic do not inform how the service is delivered and is unable to access these services then these services are not meeting its objective. This initiative aims to address absence of an Aboriginal voice in how these services are provided.

Mental Health Law Centre and Ruah Legal Services received funding to support their Care and Protection project.

The Care and Protection legal service provides intensive, integrated, legal and social support services to parents experiencing mental illness, who are engaged in child protection legal proceedings and face losing their children. This means that families have both their legal and social needs looked after throughout the period of assistance to appear in court and to help them with all the supports they need to work towards being reunited with their children.

Subiaco Justice Centre was granted funding to support their ongoing community legal education program.

The focus of the program includes elder abuse, the family law system and tenant rights. Part of the funding will go to evaluating their services.

The legal services of the Subiaco Justice Centre are provided by volunteer lawyers in the areas of family and general law to the most disadvantaged members of the community.

South West Community Legal Centre Inc received funding to assist with their community legal education and branding.

SWCLC provides support to vulnerable people all across the South West region. The funding received from Piddington will go toward elevating recognition of the Centre’s service, creating marketing materials and building community awareness of how to seek legal help.

Women’s Legal Service was granted funding to create a private office for clients and safe phones for clients to have.

The client office would act as a safe space for women experiencing domestic violence to confidentially undertake the administrative work regarding the circumstances, such as printing, phone calls and the like.

The clients of WLS are often vulnerable and can have phones that are monitored by current and former partners. The phones will be on loan from WLS and offer these women added safety in accessing the services they require.

The Piddington Society is an association of lawyers committed to advancing collegiality and justice.

For more information about the Piddington Justice Fund, please email pidsoc@pidsoc.org.au