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McClelland's 'holistic' justice

McClelland's 'holistic' justice

The Government will examine access to justice issues in a "holistic way", Attorney-General Robert McClelland said at a speech at Old Parliament House on Monday.Speaking at the Multi-Door…

The Government will examine access to justice issues in a "holistic way", Attorney-General Robert McClelland said at a speech at Old Parliament House on Monday.

Speaking at the Multi-Door Courthouse Symposium, McClelland said a taskforce had been established to examine the issue, with better access to justice not simply being about providing more resources to courts.

"Nor, for that matter, is it simply about providing more resources for people to conduct a knock-down, drag-out court case if other remedies are more effective and appropriate," he said.

"Presently, to someone not familiar with the justice system, it can present a bewildering array of disparate institutions and services, often operating independently, including courts, tribunals, legal assistance service providers, alternative dispute resolution providers, and ombudsmen."

McClelland recommended that a hospital triage system could be implemented to help people access the best pathway for legal resolution.

"Like a hospital, an effective justice system should have an inbuilt triage function, enabling matters to be directed to the most appropriate destination for resolution, irrespective of how people make contact with the system," he said.

He said that access to justice did not mean that every dispute between citizens, corporations or governments "should be resolved in a full-blown court hearing with senior counsel and associated entourage at ten paces. That would be unsustainable as it would be impractical".

The Government is trying to encourage alternative dispute resolution, with the National Mediator Accreditation System becoming operational in January 2008 and with a permanent Mediator Standards Body expected to be established in 2010, said McClelland.

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