find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Court closures rile regional lawyers

Court closures rile regional lawyers

A string of court closures has angered regional lawyers, who say it will hinder access to justice.

REGIONAL South Australian lawyers are concerned that changes to country court offices will prevent access to justice for locals. 

In recent weeks the Courts Administration Authority has begun closing court offices in the towns of Kadina, Coober Pedy and Ceduna when the court is not sitting. 

“They are denying access to justice for a great deal of public,” said Sebastian Hill, from the South Australia Law Society country committee. 

“The country courts have huge registries comparatively; they deal with far more than the registries in the city.” 

Hill claims that by closing the courts on days when the magistrate is not there the government is saying that they are not as important as the metropolitan population. “It’s a disregard for people who come from far away.” 

Along with filing and paper work Hill said the court office staff perform a vital role in providing guidance to the public with legal matters. 

“People come to access the court to get information on filing a small claim. They don’t need a lawyer- they can do it at the registrar with their help.” 

Payment of fines or infringement notices, as well as extensions or changes in payments are also done through court offices, which is why the new systems is of great concern to people living in regional areas who might be struggling with debts, said Hill. 

He added that if the registry staff were only there on sitting days, they would be run off their feet and unable to help people with their inquiries. 

South Australian Attorney-General, Michael Atkinson’s response to this is that there are other options and facilities for regional residents to access services for legal issues. 

“Payment of fines or infringement notices can be done at any post office with Australia Post, these towns all have post offices; it can be done at Services South Australia offices; it can be done on-line or through the call centre; that’s an important thing to bear in mind on the question of fines payment.” 

Atkinson said: “Second thing is if court registry staff have been giving out legal advice to people who are potentially complainants or plaintiffs I think both the Law Society in Adelaide and the Courts Administration Authority would be very, very concerned indeed because that is highly dangerous and it’s not what court registry staff should do, they’re not legally trained.” 

However, Hill and members of the society’s country committee have written to the Courts Administration Authority about the changes and its implications on not only the public but also legal practitioners. 

“Its part of having a judicial system and having courts, people need to have face-to-face contact.” 

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Court closures rile regional lawyers
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...