Past Conference Resources

Power, Purpose and Possibilities

The 2019 National CLCs Conference in Brisbane, QLD, brought us Power, Purpose and Possibilities in relation to climate and environmental policy, strategic litigation and updates on the future of the CLASS system.

Location: Brisbane, Queensland

Date: 26 – 29 August 2019

Conference Program 2019

Just futures: Shaping our vision beyond 2020

At our 2018 National CLCs Conference held in Sydney, NSW, we put our minds to the future of the sector. We explored what the community legal sector could look like past the year 2020, and how we can support this work. With seminars on policing race, technology and innovation, 2018’s conference left us ready and excited for what’s ahead.

Location: Sydney, New South Wales

Date: 28 – 30 August 2018


Conference Program 2018

Mind the gap: Responding with resilience, resourcefulness and reconciliation

The 2017 National CLCs Conference demonstrated CLCs commitment to addressing broader challenges like closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage and addressing systemic inequality.

As the gap between the rich and poor widens each year, it is more important than ever that the most vulnerable members in our community have access to the legal services they need.

Location: Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Date: 9 – 11 August 2017

Conference Program 2017

Innovation and collaboration for better justice outcomes

Our 2016 Conference showcased how Community Legal Centres across Australia are driving innovation and collaboration in service delivery to help the clients and communities they work with achieve the best possible outcomes to the legal challenges they face. This innovation takes many forms and includes a strong focus on collaboration between CLCs, with other service providers and volunteers, and with communities more broadly.

The ongoing commitment of CLCs to innovation and collaboration is one of the sector’s strongest assets. It is central to ensuring effective responses to legal needs in the context of the broad range of challenges faced by disadvantaged people and communities. It is also one of the reasons the sector is so efficient, driving quality services and outcomes within available resources.

Location: Fremantle, Western Australia

Date: 10 – 12 August 2016

Conference Program 2016

“Unless…” Storytelling in CLCs work: Reasons, roles and risks

Our 2015 Conference highlighted how storytelling for Community Legal Centre clients and for Centres is a way of claiming ownership and control, a method of effective advocacy, a form of community development and empowerment, and bearing witness, while also being a complement to data.

Stories matter because stories are about people.  Storytelling can empower individuals and communities, create awareness, change minds, bring people together and can inspire and lead to action. Unless someone cares, nothing will change.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria

Date: 10 – 12 August 2015

Conference Program 2015

Rising to the challenge

The theme of our 2014 National CLCs Conference, Rising to the Challenge, was reflective of the values and commitment of the people working in CLCs. The phrase acknowledges the difficulty of CLCs’ work, but celebrates CLC workers’ determination to strive against unfairness and injustice through belief, optimism, pragmatism and hope.

The Conference focused on exploring innovative and strategic ways of meeting some of the challenges facing the CLC sector.

Location: Alice Springs, Northern Territory

Date: 13 – 15 August 2014

Conference Program 2014

Walk together, talk together: Joining journeys to healing and justice

The 2013 Conference showcased some of the great work that CLCs do, individually, and in collaboration and partnership with colleagues from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Family Violence Prevention Legal Services, Legal Aid, the private profession, government and other NGO agencies.

The processes of recognition, healing and reconciliation are felt to be essential by many of Australia’s First Peoples; but these concepts hold lessons for all of us in our work with people who have suffered trauma, with people who have not had their voices heard or had their wrongs redressed.

Location: Cairns, Queensland

Date: 24 – 26 July 2013

Conference Program 2013

Weather makers: CLCs creating a climate of change

Our 2012 conference theme recognised the profound effect of CLCs on the justice system over the 40 years that we have operated in Australia and celebrated our work and diversity.

If you compare the Australian Government’s 2009 access to justice principles and its access to justice methodology with the philosophy, discourse and service delivery model of CLCs, you cannot doubt CLCs’ profound influence on the Australian justice system.

Our sector must take responsibility for our action and inaction. Even in a changing climate, CLCs have a role as weather makers.

Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Date: 28 – 31 August 2012

Conference Program 2012

Rights, representation and reform

Our 2011 conference brought together key players from around Australia in the policy reform sector. Along with a broad range of issues facing policy-making in Australia, we engaged in focused discussion surrounding reform and the need for significant representation of minority groups in decision making circles.

Location: Hobart, Tasmania

Date: 17 – 20 October 2011

Conference Program 2011

Breaking new ground: CLCs advancing justice

The 2010 National CLCs Conference focused on innovation, partnerships and exploring the ways CLCs can best respond to community needs. The Conference enabled us to share our skills and experiences and to plan for our communities.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria

Date: 24 – 27 October 2010

Conference Program 2010

Inclusive justice – CLCs in action

The 2009 National CLCs conference had a social inclusion and human rights focus, and explored how CLCs provide access to justice for those individuals and communities that are most at-risk and disadvantaged. Socially excluded Australians too often have little reason to respect the rule of law. They experience the legal system as punitive, seemingly unfair, and frequently indecipherable. They are unable to afford private legal assistance and their outcomes are often unjust.

Location: Perth, Western Australia

Date: 14 – 17 September 2009

Conference Program 2009

Just is as just does

The 2008 Conference had a strong Indigenous and Human Rights focus. All our areas of work are about basic human rights: from housing to income security, to safety from violence to freedom of association, to our right to a peaceful and sustainable future.

In the forefront was the centrality of access to justice in effective Social Inclusion programs. No Social Inclusion agenda will be successful unless it includes access to justice. For socially excluded people the legal system is punitive not just. It is often unclear, frequently indecipherable and routinely unfair.

Location: Darwin, Northern Territory

Date: 17 – 20 August 2008

Conference Program 2008

CLCs looking to the future

The 2007 conference explored the impact of changing climates on the communities that CLCs serve and the ways these changes relate to and affect each other. In particular, the conference addressed the changing justice climate – attempts to stifle our law reform advocacy, the Indigenous Justice climate, the impact of welfare reforms on the social justice climate, Family Law and the climate in which women and children struggle for the right to lead lives free from fear and violence, the “values climate”, and the myriad ways our clients and communities are affected.

Location: Brisbane, Queensland

Date: 9 – 12 September 2007

Conference Program 2007

Opening closed doors: CLCs advancing community justice

The 2006 NACLC Conference focused on community justice and included an address from National Executive Committee Member of the Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe, Sekai Holland.

Among the issues we explored, much thought was given to the issues face by clients in accessing justice, alternative dispute resolution and working with minority groups.

Location: Wollongong, New South Wales

Date: 3 – 6 September 2006

Conference Program 2006

Scaling new heights: Community law in the 21st century

Scaling new heights: Community law in the 21st century is a statement of optimism and confidence in our communities. Although it is sometimes hard to keep perspective, it is true that our practice does improve the lives of ordinary people. We see vulnerable people acting together and we see the improvements in our lives and communities that come from co-operation and commitment. Our best moment come when we join with others in protecting and advancing the conditions of humanity. While we support the agenda of individual human rights that is making some headway in various jurisdictions, our focus is on collective rights.

Location: Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Date: 9 – 12 October 2005

Conference Program 2005

Justice hijacked

The 2004 National CLCs Conference approached justice as fairness, with a focus on Indigenous issues and access to justice.  Discussion panels included topics such as how to challenge laws that may disadvantage minority groups, and how to prevent activist burnout. The Conference produced the 2004 NACLC Resolutions, which covered various areas of law and how to address the challenges within them.

Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Date: 29 August – 1 September 2004

Conference Program 2004