Access and Equity in Australian Law

Essay by krisworldCollege, UndergraduateA+, August 2004

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Section 1



The cost of legal advice, assistance and representation is often so high that people decide not to enforce their rights. Concern about this has led to several inquiries into the cost of justice. The problem is that one's ability to exercise legal rights is affected by one's financial situation. The cost of legal advice is no deterrent to the rich, but may be prohibitive for the poor. In steps to improve the situation, Legal aid may assist people - but legal aid funding is limited and civil cases are usually not funded at all.

Simply, this means that for the financially handicapped, justice is out of reach because it so inaccessible. In deciding to go to court, one must take into account the likely legal costs incurred by the other party as well as the fees for their own lawyers.

The person who loses an action is also liable for the legal costs of the winning party. However, it is very difficult to establish at the start of a case the full extent of the costs. This often discourages people from initiating legal proceedings. A legal system which is not affordable is not accessible. Legal values are of little value unless they can be enforced.

What it costs the litigant

*see appendixes for

1. Solicitor costs

2. Legal practitioner expenses

3. Local court scale of costs

4. Court of Petty Sessions costs

5. District court appeals costs

6. Supreme court costs

7. Prosecution costs

8. Legal practitioner official scale of costs

What the figures from the appendixes represent

The costs listed on each of the appendixes shows that every single thing processed or participated in with a legal practitioner is extremely expensive be it sending a fax, letter, telephone...