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Access to justice increasingly under threat around Australia

Penny Wright 5 Mar 2013

Comments from the South Australian legal community this week about ‘chronic underfunding’ of legal aid affirm the need for proper funding of Legal Aid at both a federal and state level, Greens spokesperson for Legal Affairs, Senator Penny Wright, said.

The Commissioner for Victims of Crime and a prominent civil liberties lawyer said today that legal aid in South Australia is ‘chronically underfunded’ and that this ‘may give rise to injustices’.

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Court fee hikes subject to Senate Inquiry

Penny Wright 27 Feb 2013

The Labor Government's decision to increase federal court fees will be scrutinised by a Senate Inquiry initiated by Australian Greens spokesperson on Legal Affairs, Senator Penny Wright.

The Inquiry will examine whether the higher fees will exacerbate the access to justice crisis in Australia.

"Cost is the most common barrier to people seeking legal help," Senator Wright said. "Increasingly, ordinary Australians are being priced out of the court system because they cannot afford legal representation and court fees."

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Access to justice - court fee inquiry motion

Penny Wright 27 Feb 2013

I move that the following matter be referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by Thursday, 6 June 2013:

The impact of federal court fee increases since 2010 on access to justice in Australia, with particular reference to:

a)            the impact of federal court fee increases on low-income and ordinary Australians and operators of small businesses;

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Labor ignores legal services crisis

Penny Wright 6 Feb 2013

The Labor Government has refused to acknowledge a crisis in access to legal services, voting against a motion today by Australian Greens spokesperson on Legal Affairs, Senator Penny Wright.

"We have had report after report that confirms ordinary Australians are being priced out of the court system because they cannot afford legal representation and court fees," Senator Wright said.

"Australians should be able to seek legal assistance based on the merit of their claim and not the size of their wallet.

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Motion to recognise crisis in access to justice sector

Penny Wright 6 Feb 2013

I move that the Senate

(a)    recognises:

(i)            Research from early 2012 by the Australia Institute which revealed that approximately 500,000 Australians are missing out on essential legal services;

(ii)           The 2012 ACOSS Community Sector Survey that highlighted how community legal centres are struggling to meet demand, waiting lists are increasing and approximately 14 per cent of people who sought assistance in 2010/11 were turned away;

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Court fee inquiry denied

Penny Wright 29 Nov 2012

The Senate's rejection of a move to examine federal court fee increases as high as 341 per cent is a blow to low-income and ordinary Australians, said Australian Greens spokesperson on Legal Affairs Senator Penny Wright.

"Increasingly, Australians are being excluded from the court system because they cannot afford legal representation and court fees," Senator Wright said.

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Motion for an Inquiry into court fee increases

Penny Wright 29 Nov 2012

I move:

That the following matter be referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by Thursday, 21 March 2013:

The impact of recent proposed federal court fee increases on access to justice in Australia, with particular reference to:

a)      The impact of federal court fee increases on low-income and ordinary Australians and operators of small businesses;

b)      Whether recent and proposed fee increases are reasonable, based on evidence and consistent with other justice policy matters;

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