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50th Anniversary

Foundation Director Geoff Mulherin, Attorney General Mark Speakman and Law Society President Pauline Wright at the Foundation's 50th Anniversary Cocktail Party, Law Society of NSW, 30 March 2017. Photo courtesy of Law Society Journal/Jason McCormack.

In 2017, the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW is celebrating our 50th anniversary. Originally known as the Law Foundation, we were founded in 1967 by the Law Society of NSW. Throughout our history, the Foundation has been at the forefront of improving access to justice. As an independent body governed by statute, the Foundation's unique position enables us to identify the legal needs of the community and act to address them.

The Foundation’s role as a catalyst of legal change has transformed the legal landscape in NSW and beyond. The Foundation played an important role in the establishment of the College of Law, the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII), the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the Legal Information Access Centre (LIAC). In 1974, the Foundation established the High School Education Law Project (HELP), which led to the inclusion of Legal Studies in the NSW HSC curriculum. A leader in the plain language law movement in the 1980s, the Foundation was responsible the development of many resources including the Pocket Guide to Law, The Law Handbook, The Tenants’ Rights Manual, The Mental Health Rights Manual and The Immigration Kit.

In 2002, the Foundation established the Legal Information and Referral Forum (LIRF) which continues to bring together key service providers in NSW who provide referral to clients with legal problems. The Foundation is also an executive member of the NSW Legal Assistance Forum (NLAF) which seeks to promote collaboration and coordination in the development of legal services in NSW.

The Foundation’s Grants Program has supported numerous innovative projects that have contributed to the evidence base on ‘what works’ to improve access to justice.

The Foundation's research is vital in informing policy and practice across the legal assistance services sector. In 2012, we published the Legal Australia-Wide (LAW) Survey, the largest national legal needs survey conducted anywhere in the world. The Foundation continues to be a leader in research on civil justice, as demonstrated by our recent Data insights in civil justice reports for the Department of Justice on data from the NSW Local Court and NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunals.

2017 events
2017 Justice Awards
19 October 2017, NSW Parliament House, Macquarie St, Sydney
The Law and Justice Foundation’s annual Justice Awards recognise the contributions that individuals, groups and organisations have made to improving access to justice in NSW, particularly for socially and economically disadvantaged people.
Nominations open on 15 May 2017. To view last year’s program and listen to Stan Grant’s Law and Justice Address, please go to our Justice Awards page.

Reshaping Justice: Client-centred service delivery, technology and innovation
Our Research Symposium designed for policy makers, practitioners and researchers with a shared interest in the effective delivery of legal assistance services was held on Tuesday 20 June and featured keynote speaker Professor Dame Hazel Genn, Dean of UCL Laws. See Reshaping Justice program

Anniversary Grants Program
This year’s Anniversary Grants Program aims to support a project that reflects the Foundation’s rigorous approach to addressing the legal needs of the community. Applications are now closed.

Cocktail Reception
Thursday 30 March 2017, Law Society of NSW, 170 Phillip St, Sydney
The Law Society of NSW hosted a cocktail reception to mark the Foundation's 50th anniversary. View photos
Read or download Law Society President Pauline Wright's Speech
Read or download NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman's Speech

Get involved
For the latest information about our Anniversary Program, follow us on Twitter @NSWLawFound