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PwC report influencing delivery of justice in Victoria

Briefs

Cite as: December 2015 89 (12) LIJ, p.10

The PricewaterhouseCoopers report into legal services delivery commissioned by the LIV is playing an important role in shaping justice issues in Victoria. The report has helped inform the Victorian government’s new Access to Justice Review, and has also served to open up communication channels between the LIV and recently elected parliamentarians, LIV vice-president Belinda Wilson said.

There is evidence the report has fed into the terms of reference for the Access to Justice Review, which is seeking new measures to boost vulnerable Victorians’ access to legal assistance. The review will examine the availability of easily accessible information on legal services and the Victorian justice system, look at options for diverting people into alternative dispute resolution services, and review the best ways of providing legal assistance to those in need.

“The LIV welcomes the inquiry and will be doing its utmost to provide its support,” Ms Wilson said. The LIV is particularly pleased to see that the review has followed up on its recommendation to examine the issue of self-represented litigants who, without access to legal representation, suffered enormous strain, the risk of a worse legal outcome and added to the pressure on courts and tribunals. Other issues that could be considered by the review were contingency fees and legal expense insurance, Ms Wilson said.

The PwC report’s release has also helped inform Victoria’s new parliamentarians of the LIV’s expertise and contributions on other legislative issues. Following the release of the report, the LIV sought meetings with new cross-benchers who now hold the balance of power in the Upper House, as well as new members of the opposition and government.

“We used the PricewaterhouseCoopers report as a way to open the door to meet cross-benchers to talk about all the work we do, and make them aware that we have policy lawyers who can assist them with advice on legislation,” Ms Wilson said.

Following the initial meetings, cross-benchers have been in contact with the LIV seeking advice on other legislation coming into the House and responded with interest to LIV submissions on other issues.

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