This issues paper is intended to assist people preparing a submission to the Productivity Commission's new inquiry examining the current costs of accessing justice services and securing legal representation, and the impact of these costs on access to, and quality of justice.
The cost of accessing justice services and securing legal representation can prevent many Australians from gaining effective access to the justice system. For a well-functioning justice system, access to the system should not be dependent on capacity to pay and vulnerable litigants should not be disadvantaged.
A well-functioning justice system should provide timely and affordable justice. This means delivering fair and equitable outcomes as efficiently as possible and resolving disputes early, expeditiously and at the most appropriate level.
A justice system which effectively excludes a sizable portion of society from adequate redress risks considerable economic and social costs.
Scope of the inquiry
The Commission is requested to examine the current costs of accessing justice services and securing legal representation, and the impact of these costs on access to, and quality of justice. It will make recommendations on the best way to improve access to the justice system and equity of representation including, but not limited to, the funding of legal assistance services.
This issues paper was released on 16 September 2013 and is intended to assist you in preparing a submission to the Commission. It covers a range of issues on which the Commission seeks information and feedback.