Justice Project nears completion
The Justice Project team has been finalising a large number of recommendations, group-by-group priorities, overarching themes and chapters which will form the final Justice Project Report.
The Justice Project has examined the justice barriers for 13 groups identified as facing significant social and economic disadvantage and worked to identify what is working to reduce those barriers.
Once complete, the Justice Project will be one of the most comprehensive and national reviews into the state of access to justice in Australia for people experiencing disadvantage. It is an enormous body of work, which involved substantial research, received 129 submissions and involved consultations across Australia.
It is envisioned that once complete, the Justice Project will inform Law Council policy and advocacy work and assist law makers, policy makers and stakeholders in their decisions for many years.
The Law Council President, Morry Bailes, spoke about the Justice Project on ABC Radio National’s Speaking Out program.
During the segment Mr Bailes outlined some of the key aspects of the Justice Project to date.
“The picture we have, and it’s a very clear picture, from our work in the Justice Project is that law and justice ought not to be looked at in isolation,” Mr Bailes said.
“In other words, we can’t silo law and pretend that it isn’t impacted by all of the other areas of life.
“And so, we have made in our preliminary report a number of recommendations and they include a whole-of-government approach to reform. In other words, the recognition that it’s not just about law enforcement, courts and legal services – it’s about every part of government understanding that it has a hand, or a role to play in terms of reform.
“That includes putting co-located services in place, so that the lawyer can work with the doctor, the nurse, the community nurse, the social worker, the mental health professional because we need to recognise the reason people are entering the justice system might be complex.
“Our recommendations start with the concept that law should not be regarded as existing in isolation, that it touches on all aspects of our lives and that all aspects of our lives drive us towards the justice system.”
The Justice Project Steering Committee recently held their final meeting, which saw the finalisation of the project’s many recommendations.
Chaired by former High Court Chief Justice, the Hon. Robert French AC, and including eminent lawyers, jurists and academics the committee has been invaluable guiding and informing the project for the past 18 months.
The Law Council would like to sincerely thank the committee for their assistance throughout the project, the input of committee members, their guidance and advice has been highly-valued and much appreciated.
Last week, Law Council Directors also met to discuss the Justice Project and the final recommendations. The adoption of the Law Council’s recommendations by Directors, at that meeting, has enabled the final report to move nearer toward completion.
It is envisioned that the final report, recommendations, and overarching themes and chapter will be released publicly in the coming months.