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

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Chapter 5. Participation in law reform

5.1 This chapter looks at the accessibility of mechanisms to review and reform the legal system to disadvantaged people. The first part looks at the weaknesses and barriers in existing law reform processes which restrict the ability of disadvantaged groups within the community to effectively participate in these processes, as reported by the consultation process. The mechanisms which have been implemented to address these issues are then explored. Finally, suggested proposals for further initiatives which may enhance access to these processes for disadvantaged people are discussed.

5.2 For the purposes of this project, the processes which are dealt with under the title ‘participation in law reform’ include:

  • advocacy and consultation undertaken by non-government and community organisations on behalf of disadvantaged groups
  • consultation by law reform commissions and parliamentary committees, including calls for submissions, public hearings/inquiries, focus group consultations, and so on
  • consultation by professional and industry bodies such as the NSW Law Society and the Bar Association acting in their policy capacity
  • advocacy undertaken by individuals.


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