A CIVIL rights watchdog is needed to help halt the trampling of people’s rights in this country, according to the peak body representing plaintiff lawyers.
We should do as the United Kingdom does, the Australian Lawyers Alliance claims, having called on state and federal governments to establish bodies modelled on the UK’s Civil Justice Council.
There are numerous problems with legal reform in Australia, said former Lawyers Alliance president Peter Cashman. “Consumer interests, especially those of victims of negligence, are not taken into account in the legal reform process and there is a lack of understanding of the realities of the civil justice system by some in government,” he said.
The recent wave of negligence reforms has made clear how government has excessively accommodated the special interests of certain groups, including big business. In doing so, it has inadequately consulted with other interested or affected sections of the community, Cashman said. “There is failure to monitor the impact of so-called reform and to take into consideration unintended adverse consequences of certain reforms,” he said.