Lawyers want an extra $310 million a year to close “critical gaps” in the legal aid system.

The Law Council of Australia has asked the federal government for a funding injection of over a billion dollars over four years to ensure Australians have access to legal help.

“Legal assistance funding in Australia is abysmal and in need of urgent review. Some of our most vulnerable people are slipping through the cracks,” council president Arthur Moses SC said.

He said the money is needed for Legal Aid Commissions, community legal centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services and family violence prevention legal services.

“[This] will come close to restoring the Commonwealth's share of funding for Legal Aid Commissions to 50 per cent,” he told the ABC.

“Commonwealth legal aid funding is at its lowest in decades. In 1997 the federal government spent $11.22 per capita.

“Today, it is spending less than $8 per capita. Many living under the poverty line are ineligible.”

The legal lobby also wants more money for family law courts.

“Families and children are having to wait up to three years, in many cases more, to have matters heard,” Mr Moses said.