ContentJust Search pageLJF site navigationLeft navigation links
LJF Logo
Publications sectionJustice Awards sectionResearch sectionGrants sectionPlain language law sectionNetworks section
Just Search
 
Research Report: On the edge of justice: the legal needs of people with a mental illness
cover image

On the edge of justice: the legal needs of people with a mental illness  ( 2006 )  Cite this report



Print chapter
Search or view whole report
View PDF

Chapter 4. Barriers to accessing legal assistance


    I don’t think that a person with chronic depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or drug and alcohol issues has the capacity to seek out help.1

As discussed in the previous chapter, people with a mental illness face particular legal issues, including those relating to the Mental Health Act 1990 (NSW), discrimination, housing, social security, debt and consumer issues. Legal issues concerning family law, domestic violence, victims of crime, and care and protection were also raised in consultations, and are supported by the literature.

This chapter will look at the barriers faced by people with a mental illness in accessing legal assistance.2 For the purpose of this report, the term ‘legal assistance’ includes the provision of legal information, legal advice and legal assistance (see Appendix 7 for definitions of each of these).

Consultations for this study revealed that people with a mental illness experience both individual and systemic barriers to accessing legal services. The first part of this chapter will look at the individual barriers that people with a mental illness confront in accessing and using legal services, while the second part will discuss the systemic barriers to accessing legal services. This chapter will also consider the ways in which access to legal assistance for people with a mental illness can be improved.



Consultation with CLC workers, Shopfront, September 2004.
A description of legal services generally used or referred to by participants and stakeholders can be found at Appendix 8.

 Consultation with CLC workers, Shopfront, September 2004.
 A description of legal services generally used or referred to by participants and stakeholders can be found at Appendix 8.


CLOSE
Karras, M, McCarron, E, Gray, A & Ardasinski, S 2006, On the edge of justice: the legal needs of people with a mental illness in NSW, Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, Sydney