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Access to justice and legal needs. Stage 1: public consultations  ( 2003 )  Cite this report

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



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People living in institutions and people released from institutions


Prisoners

1.34 Consultation participants identified several areas where prisoners were disadvantaged in accessing legal advice, assistance or representation.42 Specific areas of concern included:

  • prisoners as victims of crime, particularly in relation to sexual ssault within prisons
  • complaint procedures within prisons
  • prisoners as parents maintaining contact with their children, either as a result of Family Law proceedings, or due to the operation of the Children's (Care and Protection) Act43
  • prisoners with immigration issues, including visa cancellations, deportation orders, spouse visas and protection visas44
  • specific disadvantages faced by prisoners with an intellectual disability, mental illness or substance abuse problem, given the over-representation of such people within prisons45
  • special needs associated with an ageing prison population (due to increased sentences and higher rates of recidivism).46

Immigration Detention Centre detainees

1.35 The position of people in detention in immigration centres was identified as one of disadvantage, as detainees face complex immigration issues and decisions often have to be made within strict time limits or the opportunity is lost.47

People in institutional care

1.36 People with Disabilities noted that people in institutional care have similar issues to those of prisoners:

      We note the reference to people living in institutions, and their particular legal needs and the common lack of rights or access to legal recourse. People with disability living in institutional care face similar barriers, which can result in abuse where there are a lack of safeguards and an inability to communicate or access advocacy.48
People released from institutions

1.37 Consultation participants also submitted that disadvantage does not cease upon release from prison or other institutions. They reported that the needs of this group have not been adequately researched.49



Law and Justice Foundation of NSW roundtable with community and non-government organisations, 16 October 2002.
Ibid.
Submission from Immigration Advice and Rights Centre.
Submission from People with Disabilities, Law and Justice Foundation of NSW roundtable with community and non-government organisations, 16 October 2002.
Law and Justice Foundation of NSW roundtable with community and non-government organisations, 16 October 2002.
Submission from Immigration Advice and Rights Centre.
Submission from People with Disabilities.
Law and Justice Foundation of NSW roundtable with community and non-government organisations, 16 October 2002.

42  Law and Justice Foundation of NSW roundtable with community and non-government organisations, 16 October 2002.
43  Ibid.
44  Submission from Immigration Advice and Rights Centre.
45  Submission from People with Disabilities, Law and Justice Foundation of NSW roundtable with community and non-government organisations, 16 October 2002.
46  Law and Justice Foundation of NSW roundtable with community and non-government organisations, 16 October 2002.
47  Submission from Immigration Advice and Rights Centre.
48  Submission from People with Disabilities.
49  Law and Justice Foundation of NSW roundtable with community and non-government organisations, 16 October 2002.


CLOSE
Schetzer, L. & Henderson, J 2003, Public consultations: a project to identify legal needs, pathways and barriers for disadvantaged people in NSW, Access to justice and legal needs vol. 1, Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, Sydney