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LIV calls on parties to commit to better access to justice

LIV calls on parties to commit to better access to justice

By LIV Media

Access to Justice Advocacy 

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The Law Institute of Victoria is calling on all parties to commit to providing better access to justice in the upcoming 2018 Victorian state election.

In the next 12 months, nearly half of all Victorians will experience a legal problem, and 30 per cent will experience more than one.

LIV president Belinda Wilson has said improved access to justice is key in ensuring all Victorians receive appropriate legal advice and assistance, especially vulnerable or disadvantaged members of the community.

“The Law Council of Australia’s recent Access to Justice report highlighted the need for the state government to devote greater funding and resources towards Victoria’s justice system and legal assistance services, and to legislate justice impact tests to ensure every government policy is assessed per its impact on the justice system.

“We are calling on the parties to address the recommendations in this report, and commit to giving all Victorians the opportunity to access affordable legal advice and assistance,” she said.

The LIV is calling for:

  • A commitment to pursue an agreement through COAG to invest, at a minimum, $390 million per annum nationwide in Legal Aid Commissions, community legal centres (CLC), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services, and family violence legal services to address critical civil and criminal legal assistance service gaps.
  • A whole-of-government approach to access to justice reform and embedding access to justice within multi-disciplinary policy and funding frameworks. This includes a commitment to consider justice reinvestment by redirecting funding that would otherwise be spent on prisons into community designed initiatives and services that examine the underlying causes of crime and identify appropriate local evidence based solutions.
  • Increased funding for CLCs to provide integrated legal services for survivors of family violence, including health justice partnerships, co-located financial counselling services and homelessness prevention partnerships.
  • A commitment to legislating justice impact tests across all government departments to make it mandatory for government to consider the impact of new legislative or regulatory change on Victoria’s justice system.
  • A commitment to retaining committal hearings as an essential feature of a fair criminal justice system.

The LIV will continue to work with stakeholders to facilitate firms giving pro bono advice to the Victorian community, and provide our free referral service to members of the public seeking legal advice.

Read the LIV’s full Call to Parties in the October LIJ here: https://www.liv.asn.au/Staying-Informed/LIJ/LIJ/October-2018/The-LIV-calls-on-all-parties-to-commit-to---


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