Darwin Community Legal Service undertakes a range of law reform activities with the aim of developing a fairer justice system to meet our clients' needs.
DCLS works to improve the lives of our clients and potential clients, who are often among the most vulnerable members of our community. Our clients include people facing multiple disadvantage, such as homelessness, mental illness and financial hardship.
Improving the lives of the disadvantaged requires more than just providing individuals with legal assistance and advice. Systemic disadvantage must be addressed through community legal education and law reform to tackle the root causes of disadvantage.
Law Reform activities can include:
- Examining our clients’ circumstances to identify systemic barriers to justice and then developing possible solutions.
- researching the law in jurisdictions in other states and territories and internationally.
- developing proposals and submissions to government to change specific areas of law and legal practices
- informing the public and providing forums and supporting community debate and discussion
- initiating and supporting campaigns to change the law or highlight social justice issues
- responding to government inquiries and other reviews.
A successful law reform campaign
In 2002/03, DCLS worked with community members and other service providers to develop a campaign promoting equality before the law for gay and lesbian Territorians. This included undertaking research and the development of submissions to government as well as community education and action. This campaign resulted in the passage of the Law Reform (Gender, Sexuality and De Facto Relationships) Bill 2003 which removed the majority of discriminatory provisions from NT legislation.
Following this successful law reform campaign, DCLS was funded by the NT Law Society Public Purposes Trust to produce a booklet outlining the legal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the NT.