The Justice Project
In 2017-2018 the Law Council undertook a national, comprehensive review into the state of access to justice in Australia for people experiencing significant disadvantage.
The Justice Project, overseen by an expert steering group led by the former Chief Justice of the High Court, the Hon. Robert French AC, is one of the most extensive reviews of its type in the past 40 years. It is also one of the most important pieces of work the Law Council has ever undertaken.
Around 150 consultations were held, and 129 submissions received, revealing often heartbreaking accounts from everyday Australians about the devastating consequences of not being able to access justice, or of receiving poor justice outcomes.
Focussing on 13 priority groups identified as facing significant social and economic disadvantage, the final report shines a light on justice issues for these groups by undercovering systemic flaws and identifying service gaps. Looking at the justice system from the people’s point of view, the Justice Project focused on justice barriers facing those with significant social and economic disadvantage, as well as identifying what is working to reduce those barriers.
The Final Report details constructive and informed recommendations which provide a roadmap for future action, building the case for new, whole-of-government justice strategies secured by appropriate funding. The Final Report includes 59 recommendations and consists of 22 chapters totalling over 1400 pages.
The Law Council’s RRR Strategic Plan has been strongly influenced by the findings in the Final Report, which included recommendations about improving access to justice in RRR areas.
The key challenges for RRR areas identified in the Justice Project Final Report included:
- general shortages of lawyers in RRR areas;
- scarce and over-stretched legal assistance services in RRR areas;
- insufficient loading for legal assistance services to deliver effectively to RRR areas;
- insufficient numbers of private practitioners;
- conflict of interest;
- lack of specialist services; and
- recruitment, retention and succession issues.
View the full Final Report of the Justice Project here. For a direct link to the RRR Chapter of the Final Report, view here.