3 October 2018
It could be said that lawyers are the guardians of the justice system, judges are at the coalface and our government is making the rules and decisions to enable us to administer justice. It’s reasonable to say that we should play a key part in assisting the government of the day in their work.
Being on the frontlines of justice, we see very clearly the impact that legislation, budget allocation and judicial appointments have on our system and the community at large. You may ask how we do this in a respectful, yet open and robust way. Queensland Law Society’s 26 policy committees and our legal policy team carry out this role day-in and day-out through the review of proposed and amended legislation, submissions to Parliament, attending public hearings and speaking out for good law.
With a Federal Election somewhere on the horizon, we have been working hard on our Call to Parties document — a call we put out ahead of each state and federal election telling the major political parties what the legal profession would like to see commitments for. Some key issues we have identified for our next document include:
- Fairly resolving family law disputes
- Making justice more accessible for Queenslanders
- Adequate resources for federal courts, tribunals and commissions
- A national plan to combat elder abuse.
Another item we are interested in seeing is the establishment of a federal judicial commission. You may have seen recent calls by the Law Council of Australia to establish a commission. We have backed that call, and have been advocating for a state judicial commission for quite some time. We firmly believe that such a commission at both state and federal levels would strengthen public confidence in the administration of justice and also ensure all processes around judicial appointments, conduct and education remain open, transparent and independent.
There is more to each of these items of course — along with many more we will include in the final Call to Parties document. We are in the consultation phase of this, and hope to release the final document as soon as an election is called. Thank you to our legal policy team, policy committee chairs and members, QLS Council and members who have provided feedback throughout the year.
By working together, we can ensure that we back the best laws for all Queenslanders, while supporting our judiciary and court system in the most efficient and adequate way possible. Respectful, robust and informed debate will assist our profession to remain key players in our own playing field.