this product is unavailable for purchase using a firm account, please log in with a personal account to make this purchase.

Select from any of the filters or enter a search term
Calendar
Calendar

Preliminary submission for the 2018/19 Victorian state budget

Preliminary submission for the 2018/19 Victorian state budget

By Law Institute of Victoria

Courts Planning 

0 Comments


To highlight the key areas across the legal profession that need extra funding, the Law Institute of Victoria has submitted a preliminary Victorian Budget submission in the lead up to the May State budget.

Thank you to all the members, especially those on our hard working committees, that have contributed so far to this process.

An overview of the preliminary submission is in this month’s Law Institute Journal. Any further feedback over the next few weeks will be included into the final submission.

 

Law Institute of Victoria: Preliminary submission for the 2018/19 Victorian state budget

 

Greater funding for our courts

Issue

Victoria’s courts need to be better funded to deal with the backlog of cases. The State Government must properly fund our courts and ensure full support services are available to help people attending court. This would relieve professional pressure on lawyers, court staff and the judiciary, reduce the lengthy backlog and ultimately improve public confidence in the justice system.

Benefits to the government

  • Sufficiently funding the courts and providing extra resoureces accommodates the needs of the public and improves efficiency and public satisfaction in the judicial system. This reduces issues in relation to overcrowded prisons and police holding cells.
  • By allowing Victorian courts to use their more effectively and flexibly, savings are generated which then can be reinvested into courts.

Benefits to the community

  • Increasing resources and expanding services offered will make courts more able to deal with cases and lead to less stress for legal practitioners and their clients.
  • Reducing waiting times for bail applications and remands hearings results in less time for people in police holding cells and prisons.

Health and wellbeing of the legal profession

Issue

Those in the legal profession are more likely than the general population to experience depression and anxiety. The Brain and Mind Research Institute reported in 2009 that almost a third of solicitors and one in five barristers surveyed suffered from clinical depression. Judges and magistrates are vulnerable as they are often relentlessly exposed to tragedy. We need to protect our human legal resources.

Benefits to the government

  • Improved wellness programs, selection and monitoring processes will safeguard judicial officers and practioners. Investing in the legal profession assists the efficiency of the entire legal system, and reduces burdens, delays, and unnecessary costs.
  • Improving the efficiency of the legal system not only saves expenditure needed to accommodate burdens and delays in the system, it also improves public satisfaction.

Benefits to the community

  • Improving levels of health and wellbeing across the legal community improves productivity and therefore reduces legal costs, while also safeguarding professional responsibility. Valuable human resourcing must be safeguarded.
  • In turn, investing in the health and wellbeing of the legal profession advances the administration of justice.

Funding to address elder abuse

Issue

Increased funding is required for the Guardianship List of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to hear contraventions of the Powers of Attorney Act 2014 (Vic) and the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986 (Vic) by support and substitute decision-makers. Increased funding could lead to the expansion of the Tribunal’s jurisdiction over elder abuse matters, including family agreements and assets-for-care arrangements.

Benefits to the government

  • The government will significantly save on resources by reducing the financial burden on the aged care system.
  • Increasing the Tribunal’s accessibility will also reduce the burden on community legal centres, which deal with a high volume of elder abuse matters.

Benefits to the community

  • Our population is ageing rapidly. Investing in services to prevent elder abuse now should lead to a shift in community attidudes and break the cycle of abuse, leading to better overall health and social outcomes for older persons and the broader community.

Funding to establish sophisticated prison hubs for video links

Issue

The current video link system is inflexible. Prisoners are provided with a set time for their court appearance, and once that time is up the video link system becomes unavailable to them. There is also a limited number of opportunities for lawyers to take instructions from their clients prior to the video link or explain outcomes to their clients following a video-linked court appearance. 

Benefits to the government

  • Communication hubs would offer multiple video-conferencing units and allow prisoners to stay connected for the time needed. They would also allow lawyers to communicate with their clients before or after a court hearing. In turn, this improves the efficiency of the legal system. 

Benefits to the community

  • Communication hubs will improve access to justice for those accused by providing for a fairer and more efficient system.
  • The wider community also benefit from a more effective justice system.

Greater support for government lawyers in regional areas

Issue

Government bodies are increasingly moving operations to regional hubs such as Geelong. However, this has resulted in an increasing detachment from support services specifically targeted at government lawyers and a sense of isolation from such lawyers to the rest of the legal profession.

Benefits to the government

  • Supporting regional government lawyers ensures legal services remain a robust and independent part of the public service and maintiains a viable legal work force in regional areas of Victoria.

Benefits to the community

  • The community is better served when government staff are well maintained and supported.

Education programs for sports organisations in relation to child protection laws

Issue

The Victorian Child Safe Standards and changes to the Working with Children Act 2005 came into effect on 1 January 2017 and 1 August 2017 respectively. These changes apply to all sporting organisations in Victoria. However, there is a lack of resources dedicated to educating sporting bodies about the new laws, particularly at the local level.

Benefits to the government

  • Education programs ensure compliance with child safety protection laws. Compliance is cost effective in the long-term as there will be less need for legal intervention for breach.

Benefits to the community

  • Participants of sports organisations and other stakeholders (such as parents) are protected from the risk of non-compliance of new child protection laws.

Funding for education for changes to conveyancing practice

Issue

Land Use Victoria’s requirement of 100 per cent digital conveyancing by 1 August 2019 has put a range of commercial and regulatory pressures on practitioners and, in turn, their clients. The changes of this scale need to be communicated to the community effectively.

Benefits to the government

  • Ensuring a smooth transition up to 1 August 2019 and beyond supports the property market and, in turn, the state’s economy.
  • A smooth transition to digital conveyancing also promotes the public’s confidence in the government’s ability to implement changes effectively.

Benefits to the community

  • This education ensures orderly property transactions for the community.
  • It also reduces the stress associated with the pressure from changes to conveyancing practice.

Home stretch program: extending foster care beyond the age of 18

Issue

Forcing individuals to leave state care at the age of 18 has ramifications for the young person in relation to homelessness, education, employment, health and interaction with the justice system. Current support services for these young people are insufficient and fragmented.

Benefits to the government

  • It is more socially and economically effective to provide individuals with greater support prior to the development of issues such as homelessness and those related to education, employment, health and the justice system, than it is to address these issues when they arise.
  • Extending foster care increases the young person’s engagement with education and employment, and reduces the future burden on welfare, healthcare, and other social systems.

Benefits to the community

  • Early intervention reduces the social and economic costs to the community.
  • Greater engagement with education and employment provides disadvantaged young people with more opportunities to develop and create their role within the community.

Housing support for prisoners upon release

Issue

40 per cent of Australia’s prisoners expect to exit custody into homelessness. Current housing services for former prisoners cannot meet the high demand.

Benefits to the government

  • Housing-related services have been shown to produce the most effective outcomes in reducing reoffending and order revocations, as compared to other prisoner services.
  • Reducing the crime rate through the provision of housing will in turn alleviate the overcrowding of Victoria’s prisons.

Benefits to the community

  • Enabling a person exiting prison to access rehabilitative services helps prevent reoffending.
  • Housing support would reduce the crime rate and improve safety for the wider community.

Mental health support for people in custody

Issue

There is a severe shortagel of psychiatric treatment available to people who need to be kept in custody. This has largely been caused by a disproportionate increase in mental health services to the growing prison population. 

Benefits to the government

  • By providing adequate mental health care, the government will be required to expend fewer resources on healthcare in the long-term and will reduce costs to the justice system.
  • Supporting mentally ill individuals in custody decreases the risks to the community.

Benefits to the community

  • The community is safer due to a reduction and possible elimination of the risk posed by persons who are released from custody and who do not have access to mental health support.
  • Those with mental health problems receive proper treatment and care.

Lawyers in Schools program

Issue

Young people are particularly vulnerable to having their education disrupted by legal issues. Lawyers in Schools programs improve legal awareness and facilitate access to legal services for young people.

Benefits to the government

  • By educating young people about legal issues and the law in accessible space, cost savings to the justice system are generated. This is because young people may acquire the knowledge to avoid coming into contact with legal issues or it may be that they ar better equipped to manage those issues should they arise.
  • The government also benefits from a likely higher employment rate, lower crime rate, and less demand on social welfare and other social services in the future.

Benefits to the community

  • By investing in lawyers in schools, the government will assist children in completing their education undisrupted by legal issues, facilitate exposure to professional role models and increase understanding of the law, ultimately assisting with the development of children and young people who are disadvantaged.

Investment in youth engagement and intensive support to divert young offenders

Issue

Young people are over-represented in the justice system, and their recidivism rate is higher than that of the general population (52.7% in 2014/2015 compared to 44.1% for the general population). Research shows that the earlier a child has contact with the criminal justice system, the more likely they will reoffend.

Benefits to the government

  • By improving youth diversion and engagement services, crime and recidivism will be reduced by preventing the offending trajectory that often occurs after imprisonment - which itself does not act as a deterrent for reoffending for a variety of reasons.

Benefits to the community

  • An integrated approach to support young offenders will address their diverse and complex needs and help them stay connected to family, education, employment and the community.
  • A reduced recidivism rate of young offenders improves the safety of the wider community.

Health Justice Partnerships (HJPs)

Issue

Evidence shows people are more likely to talk about their legal problems with a trusted health professional than a lawyer. HJPs facilitate the provision of accessible and free legal advice or referrals when it is apparent that patients need legal help.

Benefits to the government

  • The government will save resources by investing in HJPs as these partnerships will facilitate the reduction in health problems that are caused by legal problems, and will consequently reduce the financial burden on the health system.

Benefits to the community

  • The community benefits through the effective and timely handling of the health and legal issues of vulnerable groups.

Culture support planning for Aboriginal children in out-of-home care

Issue

Current legislation requires a cultural support plan be developed for each Aboriginal child in out-of-home care to encourage the child’s connection to their community and culture. However, a recent report found significant departures from these requirements, including limited culturally appropriate education service, widespread non-compliance, a failure to adequately engage Aboriginal communities in decision-making, and DET and DHHS’s failure to comply with existing protocols to safeguard the cultural rights of these children.

Benefits to the government

  • The government benefit by ensuring compliance with the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 as well as the current legislation.
  • There is also a greater preservation of Aboriginal culture. As the Children Commissioner notes: “there is no cure for a permanent loss of identity and culture; preservation is paramount”.

Benefits to the community

  • The community benefits as the relevant professionals are appropriately trained to recognise the importance of cultural support planning for Aboriginal children, and therefore children stay connected to their heritage.
  • There is a greater preservation of Aboriginal culture.

Supporting the export of legal services

Issue

Despite DFAT valuing Australian legal services export at A$598 million in 2016, there has been a lack of events, trade missions, and other programs to support Victorian law firms to expand to global markets. Victoria can benefit from investing in the export of our professional services to international customers.

Benefits to the government

  • The professional services industry is the largest industry sector in Victoria. Investing in the growth of the legal services industry promotes the State’s economy.
  • Investing in the exportation of Victorian professional services also promotes Victoria’s position in the international community. 

Benefits to the community

  • Investing in the growth of the legal industry promotes employment in the sector, as well as related industries.
  • The community benefits from an expanding and developing legal industry and an improved legal system.

Views expressed on liv.asn.au (Website) are not necessarily endorsed by the Law Institute of Victoria Ltd (LIV).

The information, including statements, opinions, documents and materials contained on the Website (Website Content) is for general information purposes only. The Website Content does not take into account your specific needs, objectives or circumstances, and it is not legal advice or services. Any reliance you place on the Website Content is at your own risk.

To the maximum extent permitted by law, the LIV excludes all liability for any loss or damage of any kind (including special, indirect or consequential loss and including loss of business profits) arising out of or in connection with the Website Content and the use or performance of the Website except to the extent that the loss or damage is directly caused by the LIV’s fraud or wilful misconduct.

Be the first to comment