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This report is the third in a series arising from Victoria Law Foundation’s Data Mapping Project, exploring the use and utility of Victoria’s civil justice administrative data. It examines administrative data collected by dispute and complaint resolution bodies in Victoria and follows publication of similar reports exploring the administrative data of Victoria’s legal assistance services, and courts and tribunals.

Dispute and complaint resolution bodies are a vital part of the Victorian justice system, providing access to civil justice for thousands of Victorians. Many were established in successive waves of reform dating from the 1970s. While they have a vibrant political and policy history, their establishment and functions has also been organic, piecemeal. This has resulted in a burgeoning landscape that has created community confusion about what different dispute and complaint resolution bodies do, and how they may be able to help.

However, surprisingly little is known about the volume and character of the matters they handle, and the difference they make. This report is an important first step in exploring how existing administrative data might be able to help to fill these critical knowledge gaps and provide a better understanding of the difference dispute and complaint resolution bodies make to civil justice for Victorians.

Key findings:

  • Improved data practice can potentially provide greater insight into what dispute and complaint bodies do and achieve. Lack of established standards and shared practices, however, present challenges. Without agreed data standards for key measures, contribution to access to justice is likely to remain obscured.
  • Collection of standardised data may increase data collection burden but would also be transformative in terms of ability to see different user cohorts. Data currently appears more informative for understanding individual dispute and complaint bodies than the system as a whole.
  • Data is key for understanding how people access and navigate dispute and complaint bodies. Improved data could help to reduce access barriers and provide more equitable access to the justice dispute and complaint bodies can provide.
Related Information

Smarter data: the use and utility of administrative data in Victorian courts an… https://apo.org.au/node/316170

Publication Details
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