8667.0 - Legal Services, Australia, 2007-08 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/06/2009   
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Income and expenses


Offices and employment by region



At the end of June 2008, there were eight legal aid commissions, nine Aboriginal legal services and 179 community legal centres operating in Australia. These 196 community legal services organisations:

  • employed 5,108 persons
  • generated income of $733.2m for the 2007-08 financial year
  • incurred expenses of $737.1m for the same period.


In the 2007-08 financial year, government funding was the primary source of income for community legal services, accounting for 93.3% ($684.4m) of their income.

For community legal centres and Aboriginal legal services, labour costs were the most significant expense, representing 68.6% (or $69.3m) and 60.1% (or $42.7m) respectively of total expenses incurred by those organisations. Labour costs constituted only 32.4% (or $182.8m) of the expenditure of legal aid commissions. Payments for legal services was the main expense item incurred by legal aid commissions, accounting for 44% (or $248.4m) of total expenses.

At the end of June 2008, there were 5,108 persons employed in community legal services. Permanent full-time employment accounted for 64.4% (3,291 persons) of total employment. Permanent part-time employment comprised 28.1% (1,435 persons), while the remaining 7.5% (382 persons) represented casual employment.

Based on the occupation in which persons employed spent the majority of their time during the last pay period in June 2008, 37.8% (or 1,929) of persons employed were practising barristers or solicitors. Practising barristers or solicitors made up 42.5% (or 1,104) of legal aid commission employment, 33.7% (or 587) of community legal centre employment and 30.9% (or 238) of Aboriginal legal services employment.

As at June 30 2008, there were 422 community legal services offices located throughout Australia. Of these offices, 50.5% (or 213) were located outside capital cities. Aboriginal legal services had 87.2% (or 75) of total offices located outside capital cities. Legal aid commissions had 54.2% (or 45) of total offices located outside capital cities. Community legal centres had 36.8% (or 93) of total offices located outside capital cities.

The proportion of persons employed per office was greater for capital city offices than for other areas. At a total level, there were 16.5 persons employed per capital city office, compared to 7.8 persons employed per office in other areas.

Community legal centres and Aboriginal legal services organisations had 4,474 volunteers providing assistance with their operations during June 2008, working a total of 38,600 hours. Practising barristers and solicitors accounted for 64.6% (1,713 persons) of volunteers providing legal services to community legal centres and Aboriginal legal services organisations during June 2008. The majority (99.2% or 4,439 persons) of these volunteers provided assistance in community legal centres.