Note: the original hard copy of this report is 343 pages .

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Access to justice and legal needs. Stage 1: public consultations   

, 2003 Summarises the responses received as a result of submissions and consultations on legal needs and barriers to access to justice.

Ch 1. Who is disadvantaged in seeking access to justice?

1.1 This chapter details the groups within the community, as identified through the consultation process, who face disadvantage in accessing various elements of the legal system. For each group there is a brief discussion of the reported reasons why people in that group are disadvantaged in accessing justice and a description of their particular legal needs. The barriers they face are discussed in more detail in the following chapters.

1.2 In its Background Paper,1 the Foundation listed a number of groups who have previously been identified as being economically or socially disadvantaged in terms of their ability to access the law and justice. These were:

– prisoners

– young people in juvenile corrective institutions

– people detained in immigration detention centres

– nursing home residents

– psychiatric institutions

– people released from institutions

1.3 The consultation process also identified these groups as suffering particular disadvantage in obtaining access to justice. In addition, a number of other groups were identified:
1.4 Some submissions associated disadvantage with particular individual characteristics or skill deficiencies which present as barriers common to a number of disadvantaged groups. These included issues such as lack of access to a computer, lack of knowledge about the legal system or support services, and unrealistic expectations.
1.5 The list of groups identified in the Foundation’s Background Paper, and in the submissions and consultations as outlined below, do not represent exhaustive lists. The Foundation continues to accept further submissions and information regarding other groups who face disadvantage in accessing legal assistance and effective participation in the legal system.

 Schetzer, L., Mullins, J. and Buonamano, R., Access to Justice and Legal Needs A project to identify legal needs and barriers for disadvantaged people in NSW Background Paper, Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, August 2002,
 Submission from North and North West Community Legal Service Inc.