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LIV makes more than 100 recommendations for improved access to justice

LIV makes more than 100 recommendations for improved access to justice

By Kerry O'Shea

Human Rights Justice 

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The Law Institute of Victoria has made 104 recommendations for improvements in access to justice in its submission to the Department of Justice and Regulation’s review.

LIV president Steven Sapountsis said the review was a good opportunity for elements of the justice system to come together and suggest how to best use scarce legal resources for the community’s benefit.

“The justice system is inaccessible to many Victorians, especially low and middle income earners”, he said.

“The LIV has identified a number of programs that could assist people to make choices about what type of legal service and fee structure works for them. These include online dispute resolution and innovative funding models such as legal expense insurance, contingency fees, unbundled legal services, and other alternatives to traditional time based billing.”

The submission also recommends that the state government investigates a social impact bond policy, similar to that in New South Wales, to expand legal assistance funding options and potentially reduce recidivism and family violence.

A number of recommendations relate to the role and functions of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, including recommendations for a fee review and fee waiver in certain lists, and increased duty lawyer support and resources for self-represented litigants.

The submission argues that there is increasing pressure on both civil and criminal law matters. Child protection matters and cases involving family violence have increased substantially, as have the numbers of both sentenced and on-remand prisoners.

In its submission, the LIV recommended a four pronged approach to improve access to justice:

  • additional funding including an immediate $60 million for civil justice services in Victoria, of which the state’s share would be $24 million
  • regular review of legal assistance service delivery to ensure funding is used efficiently and effectively
  • innovative delivery of legal services through technology, market-based solutions and appropriate regulation to help more clients access justice
  • a multi-faceted approach to access to justice should address the needs of disadvantaged groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, people with disabilities and asylum seekers.

Mr Sapountsis said the LIV was keen to work with the Department’s review team on access to justice before the Department presents a final report to the Attorney-General on 22 August 2016. He said the inquiry gave the government an opportunity to conduct a broad ranging review into both the funding of the legal assistance sector and improvements in delivery of services.

The LIV, with the Law Council of Australia, is also lobbying for increased federal funding for legal assistance as part of a national campaign.

View the submission. (PDF)

 

For further information regarding this media release please contact:
Kerry O'Shea, General Manager, Public Affairs & Legal Policy

T: 03 9607 9373
E: media@liv.asn.au
 


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