Health Justice Partnerships
Legal and health problems are often intertwined. However, health and support workers are not necessarily able, or have the capacity, to detect and address legal problems disclosed by their clients. A lawyer, working as part of an individual’s health and support team, through a health justice partnership can:
- train health workers to better identify legal issues when talking to patients
- identify legal issues and refer patients to existing appropriate legal services
- directly provide effective legal assistance to people within the familiar healthcare setting, before legal problems escalate.
Recent studies show the benefits of health justice partnerships. For example, the Redfern Legal Service in Sydney partnered with Sydney Local Health District. A formal evaluation of the health justice partnership found that:
- prior to contact with the program, 80 per cent of clients did not know they had a legal issue; and
- after receiving legal advice, 100 per cent of clients ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that they felt less stressed and knew more about their legal position.
This page provides resources to help you start your own health justice partnership. If you would like more information, please contact the Legal Aid Helpline on 1800 019 343.
Resources to get you started
HJP Memorandum of understanding – template
This document provides guidance about some of the terms you might want to include in a Memorandum of Understanding to establish your Health Justice Partnership. Click here to download the MOU template.
This referral form can be used by health services to help staff do a legal health check and make referrals to partner legal services.
This template document is intended to provide a high level summary of what a Health Justice Partnership is and the benefits it can offer to patients/clients. You can use this document as a starting point for high level presentations to staff, stakeholders or potential funders. Click here to download the fact sheet.
This template document is intended to form part of an agenda between prospective health justice partners and to prompt important initial discussions to ensure the success of the Partnership. Click here to download the meeting template.
This template PowerPoint presentation is intended to assist in
delivering training to health service staff, including explaining what a HJP
is, why it is valuable and how to identify legal issues. Click here to download the presentation.
Other handy guides
Justice Connect – starting a health justice partnership: toolkit
Health Justice Australia – website
Health Justice Australia, resources for practitioners – webpage
Legal Health Check – website