(Law Council, 2018)
The Law Council of Australia has released an extensive review detailing the lack of access to justice for those suffering social and economic disadvantage.
The Law Council of Australia has been conducting a nationwide review since early 2017, visiting several rural, regional and metro locations Australia-wide to gather real experiences from people affected by injustices.
The final report comprises of 22 chapters and 59 recommendations. The report identifies 13-priority groups including people with disabilities, LGBTI+ people, prisoners and detainees, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
Recommendations include taking measures to improve Australians’ practical knowledge of everyday legal issues, investing significant resources in legal assistance services to address critical gaps, and ensuring that all justice system actors are culturally responsive.
Former Chief Justice of the High Court, the Hon. Robert French AC, led the project with a committee of lawyers, jurists and academics, including President of the Law Council of Australia, Morry Bailes
He said that around 150 consultations were held and 129 submissions were received, revealing heartbreaking accounts from everyday Australians’ about the devastating consequences due to a lack of justice.
Mr Bailes said that Justice Impact Tests will prompt a whole-of-government approach when dealing with the pressures on the justice system, avoiding consequences and their life-shattering impacts on Australians.
“Changes in government policy will often increase demand for legal assistance, heaping extra pressure on already-stretched services,”
“Changes to laws and policy can also impact courts tribunals, contributing to strains on court resources, creating lengthy delays, and increasing the time people are held on remand,”
“Justice Project stakeholders have consistently reinforced that a better appreciation of the relationship between policymaking and legal needs is required.” Mr Bailes said.
For more on the Justice Project go to www.justiceproject.com.au.