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Australia: Recommendations for Improving Access to Justice

(Oct. 8, 2009) Calling access to justice “central to the rule of law and integral to the enjoyment of basic human rights,” as well as “an essential precondition to social inclusion and a critical element of a well-functioning democracy,” Australia's Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, launched the government's A Strategic Framework for Access to Justice in the Federal Civil Justice System, issued both as a report and a guide to future action, on September 23, 2009, with a view to reforming the country's civil justice system. (Press Release, Attorney General for Australia, A Strategic Framework for Access to Justice (Sept. 23, 2009), available at
.) The Access to Justice Taskforce, established in the Attorney-General's Department earlier in 2009, prepared the guide as the central recommendation, among other ones, for improving access to justice. It has made the report and the recommendations open for public discussion. (Strategic Framework for Access to Justice in the Federal Civil Justice System [with links to the report and to the guide], Attorney-General's Department website, (last visited Oct. 5, 2009).)

Five key principles form the basis of the Strategic Framework: accessibility, appropriateness, equity, efficiency, and effectiveness. To help remedy the typical Australian's experience of the justice system as one “marked by confusion and complexity,” the document “looks at how the justice system operates as a whole and in doing so, seeks to encourage better information, early intervention, and improved avenues to resolve disputes without the need for litigation,” as well as more efficient allocation of resources and promotion of fair outcomes. (Press Release, supra.)