Community Legal Education

5 August 2019

Definition of community legal education

Community Legal Education (CLE) is information about the law provided to the general community, community services, community groups, organisations, schools or other agencies.

The purpose of CLE is to inform and build individual and community resilience by enhancing awareness and understanding about the law, and how to identify, prevent and deal with problems awareness of the help available from legal and support services.

CLE can be viewed as an early intervention and prevention strategy, as it seeks to educate people about the law  so that people are better able to avoid legal problems or seek advice early, thereby preventing minor problems from escalating into serious legal issues.

There are two service types within CLE:

  • Community Legal Education Resources
  • Community Legal Education Activities.

Service type: CLE Resource

CLE Resource is the service type used to record the work done in developing a publication or other resource that provides:

  • information about the law and legal system
  • information about legal and support services
  • guidance for identifying, preventing or dealing with particular legal problems.

Examples of a CLE Resource include:

  • booklet
  • pamphlet
  • self­-help kit
  • legal information website
  • development of a resource for a CLE Activity, for example, a training module, presentation, or workshop outline.

CLE Resources may be developed to be delivered via a variety of media including:

  • printed/hard copy
  • audio products
  • DVD/video
  • web based
  • workshops or presentations.

For legal practice management, CLE Resources need to be reviewed and signed off by a solicitor (see Risk Management Guide).

How many CLE Resources?

Each CLE Resource developed and/or published is counted as one CLE Resource, regardless of the number of copies that may be printed or published. For example, if a DVD is produced about juvenile crime and 1000 copies of the DVD are made, then this is counted as one CLE Resource not 1000 resources. The number of copies distributed may be recorded as a service characteristic.

A resource that has been translated or amended substantially to meet the needs of different client groups is regarded as a separate CLE Resource. A resource is substantially amended if more than 40% of the content has changed from the original version.

A resource that is produced in significantly different formats which require different material/effort, for example as a pamphlet and a DVD, is regarded as two CLE Resources.

Service Type: CLE Activity

CLE Activities are delivered to raise awareness and educate other service providers, community groups, organisations, schools, or the general community about the law and how to recognise, prevent and deal with legal problems.

CLE Activities may be delivered through a variety of formats, including:

  • Workshops
  • Presentations or meetings in person
  • Webinars or electronic media.

How many CLE Activities?

Each time an activity is delivered, it is counted as one CLE Activity. The target audience, problem type(s) and the number of people in attendance at each session may be recorded as service characteristics.

The development of a CLE Activity is counted as a CLE Resource.

What if a CLE Activity is delivered by a non-lawyer?

As set out above, CLE Resources need to be signed off by a solicitor. As with the delivery of other legal services, Centres frequently use non-lawyers to deliver parts or all of a CLE session. It is important that any non-lawyers who run a CLE session identify themselves clearly as being a non-lawyer and refer people back to the Centre or other relevant legal assistance service for legal advice relating to their own individual circumstances.

Can Volunteer Induction be recorded as a CLE Activity?

Running group training for legal or non­-legal volunteers about particular legal topics, legal processes, and about the Centre's systems, can accurately be recorded as a CLE Activity, with supporting material recorded as a CLE Resource. The training provided can be quite similar to CLE provided to local community workers.

Case Studies and Examples

Some Community Project activities do not fall neatly into one Service Type or another. See Community Project for examples.

Case Study - Family Law Pamphlet

Case Study - Information Session on Working in Australia

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Page version history:

2 August 2019: Page had slight changes clarifying what the actual service types are
March 2019: Draft text provided with questions for feedback.