2019-20 Pre-Budget Submission
The Law Council’s submission to the pre-Budget process is largely focussed on the need for increased funding for the legal assistance sector, and adequate resourcing for federal courts and tribunals.
Key recommendations from the Law Council contained in this submission are as follows:
- The Australian Government should invest significant additional resources in Legal Aid Commissions, Community Legal Centres, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, and Family Violence Prevention Legal Services to address critical civil and criminal legal assistance service gaps. This should include, at a minimum, an additional $310 million per annum comprising:
- $120 million per annum for civil legal assistance services; and
- $190 million per annum for other services provided by Legal Aid Commissions, raising the share of Commonwealth funding of such services to 50 per cent.
- The Australian Government should continue to engage and consult with the legal assistance sector to develop a sustainable funding model for legal assistance services in the future.
- Justice Impact Tests should be introduced at the Commonwealth level to facilitate the smoother development of laws and policies which have downstream impacts on the justice system.
- The Australian Government should provide additional resources to the federal courts, in particular the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, including additional Judges, Registrars and other staff in order to efficiently deal with the considerable increase in workload. This should be supported with additional funding for legal assistance services for those people with cases moving through these systems.
- The Australian Government, working with state and territory governments, should commission a full review of the resourcing needs of the federal courts and tribunals. Alongside this review, the Australian Government should facilitate an open public discussion about the economic, social and civic importance of meeting the resourcing needs of courts and tribunals.
- The Australian Government should adopt and adequately resource a judicial appointment process that promotes greater transparency and accountability of judicial appointments.
- The Australian Government should establish and adequately resource a National Justice Interpreter Scheme. The Australian Government should establish and adequately resource a Federal Judicial Commission to provide a fair mechanism to hear complaints against the judiciary and provide a fair process for judges who are the subject of allegations which might otherwise be aired in the media.
You can read the full submission below.