PIAC tackles difficult social problems that impact on the lives of many Australians. We conduct test cases and strategic litigation in the public interest, and provide legal assistance, policy advice and training to create positive change to the lives of people who are disadvantaged and marginalised.
Issues we address include:
- access for people with disability to basic services;
- access to energy and water for low-income and vulnerable consumers;
- Indigenous disadvantage;
- discrimination against people with mental health conditions;
- the proper exercise of police power;
- the rights of people in detention;
- government accountability.
Litigation and legal assistance
PIAC aims to have a broad impact on the community through strategic litigation, particularly by running test cases, and ensuring access to justice.
Our strategic litigation team looks for cases that can, either individually or as part of a broader campaign, bring about systemic and sustainable change for people facing disadvantage and/or improve the enjoyment of rights within the community.
Our Homeless Persons’ Legal Service (HPLS) provides advice and representation to people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. Working with a wide network of pro bono partners, we provide access to justice for one of society’s most disenfranchised groups.
Policy and research
PIAC combines its legal work with policy and research. Often the issues raised by our clients require more than just litigation. We build on our success in test cases by working with government, business and our partners in the community to bring about changes to laws and policies to better protect people’s human rights. PIAC provides a strong and authoritative voice in inquiries, parliamentary committees, working groups and the media.
PIAC’s Energy and Water Consumers’ Advocacy Program (funded by the NSW government) works to enable all residential consumers, especially low-income and vulnerable households, to have access to affordable and sustainable utility services.
Training and community engagement
PIAC provides education and training for not- for-profit organisations and individuals to build the capacity within the community for creating positive change. This includes working with universities to train law students in social justice and public interest legal work.
PIAC also engages with the community on issues of public interest through:
- active media engagement
- hosting conferences, seminars and workshops
- presenting conference papers
- publishing newsletters and bulletins; and
- working with other stakeholders.