Education v Casework: A Losing Battle: Some SA solutions.
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Community legal education (CLE) has traditionally been the poor relation of case work in the allocation of resources designed to improve access to justice in Australia. Against the many odds, community legal education has made considerable achievements. But those gains are again under threat where increasing case work demands consume reduced budgets. South Australia's solution to the dilemma of the demonstrable need for legal education to expand rather than contract has been to raise its own funds for worthwhile projects. Based on the 'Robin Hood' principle, user-pays public legal education now funds a host of other education activities. Previously neglected groups such as public and private sector employees have had their needs for legal knowledge met and it is this sector's ability to pay for training which has financed the provision of services to less advantaged groups. However, there is no guarantee that the public courses will continue to be profitable to the extent that the profit might finance other ventures. In that event, the battle for funding will resume and community legal education is likely to again become the poor relation of case work and impede access to justice for all Australians.