The Australian Government’s Attorney General, The Hon. Robert McClelland MP, established a taskforce to undertake a review of the federal civil justice system, with a view to developing a more strategic approach to access to justice issues and, on 23 September 2009, released the report of the Access to Justice Taskforce, ‘A Strategic Framework for Access to Justice in the Federal Civil Justice System’ for public comment.
Peninsula CLC made a submission broadly accepting the terms and recommendations of the Taskforce Report and welcoming the acceptance of a more strategic, system wide approach to access to justice. However, PCLC’s Response also noted that significant improvements in the manner of engagement of individuals with the legal system and in their use of the legal system will be required to increase and improve access to justice. The taskforce report demonstrates that is the most marginalised members of our community that are most overlooked in the justice system – children, indigenous people, people suffering from mental illness.
The taskforce report also endorsed CLC’s as being cost effective and facilitating access to justice for significant numbers of people whilst recognising that CLC’s are significantly underfunded. PCLC submitted that: ‘CLC’s are experts in community law and are accessible to people with complex and disadvantaged needs. They understand the issues and barriers facing these people and provide advice to people often disregarded or disadvantaged by the legal system – homeless; young people; people with a disability or mental illness; people held in detention; victims of family violence’. Without adequate recurrent funding of CLC’s the goals of the report and access to justice for all Australians cannot be achieved.
For more information, or to request a copy of PCLC’s submission, please contact the Centre on (03) 9783 3600 or email@example.com .
Peninsula CLC made a submission to the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee expressing concern at the introduction of the Summary Offences and Control of Weapons Acts Amendment Bill 2009 into the Victorian Parliament, which would give police power to ‘move on’ people and conduct random strip searches in designated areas. We understand that the Victorian Government intends to proceed with the legislation, notwithstanding its incompatibility with the Victorian Charter of Rights. PCLC recommended that the Bill not be passed in its current form, and that a consultative process be established to consider how to address violence concerns whilst at the same time protecting fundamental human rights.
For more information, or to request a copy of PCLC’s submission, please contact the Centre on (03) 9783 3600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.