Countless people are been denied access to justice in NSW. People in NSW now have the chance to tell their experience with the justice system to The Law Council of Australia's Justice Project.
The Justice Project is a comprehensive national review into the state of access to justice in Australia, supported by The Law Society of NSW, focusing on the challenges faced by the most vulnerable people in our community.
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 released today for feedback.
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.
The President of the Law Society of NSW Pauline Wright said many disadvantaged and vulnerable people were falling through the cracks.
"Access to justice for many in our community is out of reach," Ms Wright said. "Only by identifying their legal needs and the barriers they face can we make the system fairer and more equitable."
The Justice Project aims to reveal the human face of this crisis, highlighting the research with stories of hardship and hope.
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 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. Select infographics also available.
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