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

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Chapter 3. Effective participation in the legal system

3.1 This chapter looks at the issue of effective participation in the legal system through access to courts, tribunals and court-based alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes. The first part looks at the perceived weaknesses of the court/tribunal/ADR systems which present barriers to disadvantaged groups within the community. The mechanisms which have been implemented to address these issues are then explored. Finally, proposals from contributors for further innovations and solutions are discussed.

3.2 For the purposes of this project, the issues which are dealt with under the title ‘effective participation in the legal system’ include:

  • court structures, litigation procedures, court hearing procedures and rules of evidence
  • tribunal procedures and evidentiary rules
  • formal court-based alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation, pre-trial conferences, and pre-trial conciliation.


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