Access to Justice and COVID-19
Speech delivered by Pauline Wright, President of the Law Council of Australia at the LAWASIA Human Rights Webinar, 2 June 2020.
"COVID-19 has not halted the cogs of justice, the emergence of legal issues nor the need for members of the community to protect and defend their legal and human rights.
It has, however, tested and transformed how justice is administered and accessed in Australia – as in many other jurisdictions.
In addition, COVID-19 responses have led to a surge in legal issues related to domestic violence; employment; hardship applications; insolvency; and tenancy disputes. Australian courts and tribunals have shifted to holding remote hearings wherever possible, postponed non-urgent matters and sought to accommodate and prioritise urgent matters.
Australia’s Family Court and Federal Circuit Court have led the way by announcing a new court list to quickly deal with parenting disputes requiring urgent attention due to COVID-19.
During the pandemic, the Law Council established an Information Sharing Group, comprised of the Attorney-General, federal heads of jurisdiction, myself and the President of the Australian Bar Association, to discuss challenges posed by the pandemic and share procedural and technological solutions."
You can read the full speech below.