Published on Thursday 25, November 2021


Legal support for vulnerable communities in Melbourne's inner suburbs is set to be strengthened into the future after members of the Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre (FKCLC) and Inner Melbourne Community Legal (IMCL) voted to merge the two organisations.

At simultaneous FKCLC and IMCL AGMs held this evening the combined membership voted in favour of the merger, exceeding the required threshold of 75 per cent.

The CEOs of IMCL and FKCLC said the merger would allow the new entity to provide a broader range of legal and other services in order to better serve the Melbourne community, while at the same time preserving key elements of each organisation's history and identity. Both existing offices will be retained after the merger, and it is very likely that both offices will continue to operate in the long term.

'We believe merging is our best opportunity to not only sustain the critical work currently undertaken by both organisations, but also to grow the services we offer and our overall impact in the community,' said FKCLC CEO Fiona Hunt.

IMCL CEO Damian Stock said recent examples of Melbourne CLCs successful merging - including the new Fitzroy Legal Service - showed combining forces would secure a bright future for the combined IMCL/FKCLC entity.

'Since the 2019 merger between the Fitzroy Legal Service and Darebin Community Legal Centre, the new FLS has secured more funding, grown its team and expanded the advocacy and legal support services that it provides to the local community,' he said.

'The aim is to replicate this experience because, ultimately, we want to better serve people experiencing disadvantage across the inner Melbourne community.'

Ms. Hunt and Mr. Stock said, based on the experience of the merged Fitzroy Legal Service, the merger of FKCLC and IMCL can expect to benefit from:

  • More funding
  • Greater reach into the community
  • A broader scope of legal service and advocacy activities
  • Improved technology and systems
  • More admin support, giving legal teams more time to work directly with clients
  • Broader subject matter expertise

The new organisation will retain the Inner Melbourne Community Legal name as it reflects the combined catchment, while existing projects within the Flemington Kensington CLC and Police Accountability Project will retain those descriptors to ensure connection to community remains strong.

'Both organisations have strong identities and rich, proud histories,' said Mr. Stock.

'The values and cultures of both organisations are driven by a vision of community justice where every person has access to legal support and is subject to fair laws and policing. These histories will be documented and celebrated, and our core shared purposes and values will continue through our next chapter as a new organisation.'