Responding to the legal needs of the community – ensuring justice for all Queenslanders
QLS is committed to ensuring that Queenslanders can access justice in an effective and efficient way. To deliver on this commitment, QLS publishes an annual Access to Justice Scorecard which reports on the legal profession’s views about how well the Queensland legal system responds to
the legal needs of our community and identifies the barriers preventing Queenslanders from seeking legal assistance. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the most vulnerable of our community will be ongoing for years. Our members and community legal centres are already reporting a significant increase in demand for legal assistance.
QLS calls for a commitment to:
- Increase the level of per capita state government community legal centre, Legal Aid Queensland, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service and Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service funding to match the levels in other Australian States and Territories.
- A short term investment of $5.1 million over 2 years in Queensland’s community legal centres to respond to the increased demand for legal assistance services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and the flow-on social and economic consequences.
- Increased resourcing of the Queensland Human Rights Commission to ensure that assistance is available to those whose human rights are at risk, particularly given the adverse impacts of the pandemic already identified with respect to the justice system, the health system, racial vilification, restrictions of movement, people with disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
- Allow legal representation, as of right, in all actions in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, the Queensland Human Rights Commission and other tribunals.
- Establish a small grants program for innovation and technology access to justice concepts to permit community legal centres, not-for-profits and law practices to invest in pilot technology projects which will bring significant access to justice benefits to Queensland.
- Increase legal assistance funding and services for members of the community in need of advice on civil law matters, such as family law disputes, domestic and family violence matters, housing disputes (including renting), consumer disputes, substituted decision-making matters arising from advance health directives and enduring powers of attorney documents and other elder law issues. Funding is particularly critical for:
- adults with impaired capacity for assistance with legal disputes;
- workers seeking to retrieve unpaid wages;
- communities in regional and remote areas of Queensland; and
- assisting those whose rights under the Human Rights Act 2019 have been breached.