access to justice
On 27 November 2013, the Queensland Law Society released the first ever scorecard in relation to access to justice in Queensland.
The Access to Justice Scorecard provides an assessment of the workings of our legal system including the fairness of our laws, dispute resolution, Queenslanders’ access to legal help and the capacity of our access to justice system.The average score for Queensland’s access to justice was an appalling 5.4 out of 10.
74% of survey respondents believed that Queenslanders do not have reasonable access to legal help when they need it, and 89% identified gaps in access.
Almost three quarters (74%) of survey respondents believed that Queenslanders do not have reasonable access to legal help when they need it, and 89% identified gaps in access. While 71% of respondents are able to point to initiatives that are working well to provide access to legal services, 95% also identified barriers to access.
It was also noted that there is a significant gap in legal assistance for public interest matters including test cases and environmental protection cases.
Survey respondents identified access to continuing specialist legal help, particularly for vulnerable and low income groups, and a perception of reductions in funding of community legal services, as being considerations influencing the score. Some survey respondents identified that, in particular, disadvantaged people and people with low incomes still have little effective access to justice. On the other hand, some survey respondents acknowledged some good resources and initiatives in place in this state (while noting that there is room for improvement).