Law Council Supports Calls For Improvements To Access To Justice

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9th December 2009, 11:54am - Views: 892

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19 Torrens St Braddon

ACT 1612 || GPO Box 1989

Canberra ACT 2601

Telephone +61 2 6246 3788

Facsimilie +61 2 6248 0639


8 December 2009

Law Council Supports Calls for

Improvements to Access to Justice

The Law Council has backed the findings of a Senate Committee report

which reveals that

legal service providers, such as legal aid commissions,

are not sufficiently providing Australian citizens with access to justice. 

Law Council President John Corcoran said, “The committee has presented

a damning report on the current funding levels provided to legal assistance

service providers.” 

“This situation must be urgently

addressed by the Commonwealth

Government to ensure the best interests of children and socially

disadvantaged members of the community,” Mr Corcoran said. 

In its report released today, the Senate Legal and Constitutional References

Committee unanimously recommended that the federal, state and territory

governments review existing


arrangements for

legal aid

commissions, community legal centres and Indigenous legal services. 

“Low income earners who are denied legal assistance due to the shortage

of legal aid funding are forced to go elsewhere to try to obtain help, or to

conduct their own cases without legal representation, or to simply give up,”

Mr Corcoran said.

“People are increasingly being forced to represent themselves in difficult

family law matters or to live with a criminal record that may be undeserved. 

This can lead to loss of employment opportunities and poor housing as well

as increased costs to the community at large through a greater demand for

health and social security payments,” he said.

“The committee points out that the legal system is currently afloat, due to a

considerable amount of goodwill

(from the legal profession), which could

evaporate at any time –

and the Law Council wholeheartedly agrees with

this concern.”

“The Law Council

is looking forward to the Government addressing this

crucial issue by way of a long overdue injection of funds for access to justice

in the next Federal Budget,” Mr Corcoran concluded. 

Media Contact:

Elenore Eriksson, Director Public Affairs 

P. 02 6246 3716 || M. 0419 269 855

The Law Council of Australia exists to represent the legal

profession at the national level, to speak on behalf of its constituent

bodies on national issues, and to promote the administration of

justice, access to justice and general improvement of the law.

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