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LIV calls for parties to commit to improving metropolitan and regional infrastructure

LIV calls for parties to commit to improving metropolitan and regional infrastructure

By LIV Media

Advocacy Communication Courts 

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The LIV is calling on all parties to commit to improving metropolitan and regional legal infrastructure in the upcoming 2018 Victorian state election.

Under-resourcing of courts has resulted in continued delays, placed increased pressure on judges, magistrates, court staff and lawyers, and contributed significantly to prison overcrowding in Victoria. Ageing court infrastructure continues to impact those in rural, regional and remote (RRR) areas, and has resulted in the County Court no longer being able to sit in Sale, East Gippsland. The current video link court appearance system for prisoners is insufficient and inadequate compared to prison video-link hubs which allow multiple prisoners to engage with lawyers efficiently and permit greater access to justice.

LIV president Belinda Wilson says that “rural, regional and remote courts require specialised services to overcome the geographic, linguistic and financial barriers often facing the community. More funding is needed to address the disproportionate legal need in these areas.

“The LIV welcomes the state government’s commitment to investing $152.4 million to rebuild the Bendigo Law Courts and provide modern, purpose-built facilities to replace an aging and no longer fit-for-purpose Bendigo court.

“The LIV will continue to lobby for the creation of dedicated bail and remand courts and advocate for additional funding to support more court staff”, she says.

The LIV is calling for: 

  • improved court infrastructure in regional Victoria, including improved accessibility and diversity support, safety features, video and teleconferencing facilities between an accused person and their lawyer before and after video appearances, client meeting rooms and multi-use courtrooms
  • more resources for magistrates working in RRR areas, including access to training required to exercise specialised court jurisdictions (such as the Children’s Court) in RRR areas
  • expanding legal assistance programs and specialised court services in RRR areas, such as drug and Koori courts 
  • consultation with the legal profession on planning future frameworks for legal infrastructure services and resourcing in metropolitan and RRR Victoria, including the establishment of a blueprint for justice infrastructure across Victoria to accommodate the state’s growing population
  • a commitment to providing adequate resources to ensure County and Supreme Court hearings continue in RRR areas, together with all specialist court services being made available in all Magistrates’ Courts across the state to avoid “postcode injustice”.

Read the Labor government, the Coalition Opposition and the Greens responses to the 10 priorities identified in the LIV’s Call to Parties here.


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