Friday, 5 December 2014

Release of Access to Justice report

The President of the ACT Law Society, Mr Martin Hockridge, today welcomed the release of the Productivity Commission’s inquiry report, Access to Justice Arrangements.

The Commission was asked to report on a range of matters relating to access to and costs of the justice system as well as how access to justice for disadvantaged and vulnerable people could be improved.

“The ability of all members of our community to access adequate legal advice and services when they need them is a fundamental and accepted underlying principle of our society,” said Mr Hockridge.

“The Society is pleased to see this important issue highlighted through the Productivity Commission’s report.

“Continuing inadequate funding provided to legal aid commissions and community legal centres over recent years has made it increasingly difficult for the most vulnerable members in our community to access legal assistance.

“In the ACT, lawyers support the legal needs of vulnerable Canberrans on a daily basis through pro bono services run by the Law Society as well as other community legal centre programs. This largely unrecognised support is increasingly required as government funded assistance shrinks, and a growing number of people find themselves otherwise unable to access legal services.”

The Productivity Commission report canvasses a range of matters that merit further careful consideration by government and the legal profession. The ACT Law Society and its members look forward to working with all parties to implement constructive measures to improve access to justice for all in our community.