Partners in care: the benefits of community lawyers working in a hospital setting

This report details the findings from the evaluation of an Australian community legal clinic's health and justice partnership project. The aim of the evaluation was to detail the extent to which the project is operating as intended, and to assess the impact of the health and justice partnership on the patients and the health professionals at the hospitals. The methodology for this evaluation involved face-to-face surveys with patients, interviews with social workers and lawyers, and an evaluation of professional development activities conducted at one of the project sites.

The evaluation identifies five key requirements for community legal clinics to have successful health and justice partnerships with large urban hospitals: relationships, professional training, continuity and presence, evaluation and broad engagement across all aspects of community legal clinic work. The report also outlines the benefits of cooperation between community lawyers and health professionals in the management of care for vulnerable patients and makes several recommendations.