Flashcards in 6: Problems and difficulties in gaining access to the law Deck (19)
3 main problems:
People with limited financial means can't afford to have their case heard in court due to high court fees and the need for legal representation. For example, legal representation in the Supreme Court can cost between $300 to $500 an hour.
Recent change (Cost):
Roughly $35 million in increased funding for Victorian Legal Aid
In May 2017, the government announced an increase of $34.7 million in funding for access to legal advice, support and information.
For example: Roughly $7 million in Legal Aid Grants
$1.27 million on translating services
Recommended Change (Cost):
Justice Fund to give financial assistance to plaintiffs with meritorious claims
The 2008 VLRC Civil Justice Review Report recommended that a Justice Fund be established to give financial assistance to plaintiffs with meritorious civil claims, and to protect them against adverse costs if they lost.
The legal system is constantly delayed by lengthy pre-trial procedures and the fact courts have a backlog of cases to hear. The estimated delay of a criminal trial to be heard in the Supreme Court is 8 months
Recent Change (Delay):
Removal of a time limit for jury deliberations
Originally it was mandatory for jurors to take 6 hours in a criminal trial before a verdict was accepted. The Jury Directions Act 2015 was thus amended in 2017 so the 6 hour time frame was removed.
Recommended Change (Delays):
Reforms to committal hearings
Reforms to committal hearings:
A new test to commit an accused, introducing the word 'would' as opposed to 'could convict'. Under this test if the Magistrate is of the opinion that there is a reasonable prospect a jury would convict an accused, the Magistrate is to commit the accused to trial.
People may not understand the law and how it affects them, and they may not realised they have a legal problem.
Indigenous People are disadvantage by the legal system. Aborigines believe direct eye contact is disrespectful and avoid it by looking down or to the side, which can appear to be uninterested. Indigenous people tend to also be submissive to authority and very willing to respond to police requests, without realising the consequence of their actions.
Recent Change (Cultural)
Koori County Court Expansion in Mildura 2016
Koori County Court:
First sentencing court for indigenous offenders. Aims to reduce cultural alienation and to encourage offenders to take responsibility for their behaviour by including them in a court process that is more culturally sensitive.
Recommended Reform (Cultural):
Extending the Koori Court Model
Extending the Koori Court Model:
The Koori Court is only a sentencing court for those that plead guilty, and the model can be extended to handle cases where the accused pleads not guilty.