There are over 25,500 lawyers registered in Victoria. As part of the annual practising certificate renewal process we collect a range of demographic information, including the location where lawyers are practising.
The chart below shows the distribution and concentration of lawyers across Victoria based on the suburb listed within their address for service. It shows a significant concentration of lawyers in the Melbourne metropolitan area, as well as numerous locations across the state where there are no lawyers registered at all.
According to our latest annual report, 88.8% of all Victorian lawyers listed their address for service in the city or the suburbs of Melbourne. Just 7.7% are listed as living in country Victoria, with the remainder living interstate or overseas.
This graph shows that there is still a way to go to improve direct access to lawyers for people living in rural and regional Victoria. While this is likely to change over time with the adoption of technology, continued growth in the regions and an increasing willingness among lawyers to find innovative ways to offer their services, the VLSB+C is playing a role to help improve access to justice for regional and remote communities.
We have funded many projects in regional Victoria through our Grants Program. Two projects are due to be completed this year: Anglicare Victoria’s ‘Clean Slates’ (funded in 2018), and Victoria Legal Aid’s Joined-Up Justice (2019), which both service communities in Gippsland.
There are also three currently funded projects that are underway or in development: the Law and Advocacy Centre for Women’s ‘Pathways Out of the Justice System for Women in Regional Victoria’ based in the north-west of the state; the Loddon Campaspe CLC’s ‘Maryborough Family Justice Project’ in central Victoria; and the Hume Riverina CLC’s ‘Invisible Hurdles’ project in the north east.
All these projects – and many others we have funded over the past nearly 15 years – are designed to help try new ways of getting or improving the delivery of legal services to where they are needed. You can find out more about our grants program below.