Law Society NT calls on people in the NT to tell their story as part of a national review into access to justice
The Law Society NT (Society) calls on people in the Northern Territory to tell their story as part of a national review into access to justice.
The Society today called on people in the Northern Territory to help show the human face of the crisis affecting access to justice in Australia by telling their story to the Law Council’s Justice Project – which has today moved into its consultation phase. The Justice Project is a comprehensive national review into the state of access to justice in Australia, supported by the Society, focusing on challenges for the most vulnerable. Consultation papers, overseen by a Steering Committee of eminent lawyers, academics and jurists including former High Court Chief Justice, the Hon. Robert French AC, have been distributed nationally.
The papers relate to 13 groups identified in the terms of reference as facing significant social and economic disadvantage:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; people with disability; older persons; people experiencing economic disadvantage; homeless persons; children and young people; prisoners and detainees; people who have been trafficked and exploited; LGBTI people; recent arrivals to Australia, asylum seekers; people who experience family violence; and people in regional and remote areas of Australia.
Contributions will be incorporated into the final report, resulting in the most comprehensive examination of the access to justice needs of vulnerable Australians in recent decades. Tass Liveris President of the Society said Australia’s access to justice problem is acute and people experiencing significant disadvantage are falling through the cracks. “All Australians have, under the law, the right to seek justice. But this right doesn’t count for much if it cannot be exercised. We know that legal issues compound other social and economic challenges creating a dire situation for those in need of assistance,” Mr Liveris said. Mr Liveris said the Justice Project would reveal the human face of this crisis, highlighting the research with stories of hardship and hope – and this is where people in the Northern Territory can make a difference. “The Justice Project will take the reporting of this crisis out of realm of numbers and into the realm of lived experience,” Mr Liveris said. “The aim is to allow those affected to share their stories of interaction with the justice system.” The Justice Project will also tell the stories of the ‘unsung heroes’ of the legal assistance community, many of whom are finding innovative ways to assist their clients. “The Justice Project will identify what is working well and demonstrate the considerable innovation that exists within the justice sector, in spite of resourcing pressures. “The eventual recommendations will support an evidence-based policy approach which seeks to improve social outcomes rather than further entrenching disadvantage and cost to the community.” To share your story, or write a formal submission by 30 September, visit www.justiceproject.com.au – plain English and audio-assisted materials are available