Australia Starts Study “Productivity” Study on ATJ Generally

Today seems to be a day for hearing about new angles on access to justice.  Steve Grumm at the ABA has just tipped me off to the fascinating news that the Australian government has asked its productivity Commission “to undertake a 15-month inquiry into Australia’s system of civil dispute resolution, with a focus on constraining costs and promoting access to justice and equality before the law.

Given the breadth of the study, it surely has potentially transformative impact;

In particular, the Commission should have regard to:

  • real costs of legal representation and trends over time
  • level of demand for legal services
  • factors that contribute to the cost of legal representation in Australia
  • whether the costs charged for accessing justice services and for legal representation are generally proportionate to the issues in dispute
  • the impact of the costs of accessing justice services, and securing legal representation, on the effectiveness of these services
  • economic and social impact of the costs of accessing justice services, and securing legal representation
  • impact of the structures and processes of legal institutions on the costs of accessing and utilising these institutions, including analysis of discovery and case management processes
  • alternative mechanisms to improve equity and access to justice and achieve lower cost civil dispute resolution, in both metropolitan areas and regional and remote communities, and the costs and benefits of these
  • reforms in Australian jurisdictions and overseas which have been effective at lowering the costs of accessing justice services, securing legal representation and promoting equality in the justice system
  • data collection across the justice system that would enable better measurement and evaluation of cost drivers and the effectiveness of measures to contain these

Of course, what is most exciting is that the study looks at the costs for all — rather than treating poor people’s problems as different from the general problems of the system, including the costs of counsel for all.

The full “Terms of Reference” are here.  Particularity interesting is this expansion of the heading governing “the factors that contribute to the cost of legal representation in Australia,

  • the supply of law graduates and barriers to entering the legal services market
  • information asymmetry
  • other issues of market failure
  • the structure of the legal profession in State and Territory jurisdictions
  • legal professional rules and practices
  • court practices and procedures
  • models of billing practices
  • the application of taxation laws to legal services expenditure, and
  • other features of the legal services market which drive costs

 

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About richardzorza

I am deeply involved in access to justice and the patient voice movement.
This entry was posted in Access to Justice Generally, International Models, Systematic Change. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Australia Starts Study “Productivity” Study on ATJ Generally

  1. Of course, what is most exciting is that the study looks at the costs for all — rather than treating poor people’s problems as different from the general problems of the system, including the costs of counsel for all.

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