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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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Elderly People


1.28 The vulnerability of elderly people in financial matters, estate planning, and situations involving dependency upon family members was identified through the consultation process. According to the submission from Centrelink, the disadvantaged position of elderly people in accessing justice and legal redress is characterised by the following issues:
  • the rights of grandparents in having access to their grandchildren
  • difficulties for Indigenous older people living in a community where they have been in violent family relationships, and continued community beliefs/values create an ongoing risk
  • legal needs associated with bereavement
  • estate planning
  • financial decisions
  • Centrelink entitlements.30

1.29 Other issues raised through the consultations as relevant to the legal needs of elderly people included:
  • vulnerability to financial and other abuse, including pressure to sign over property or change wills to leave assets and/or give large financial gifts to their carers31
  • fear of retribution from their carers by elderly people in residential aged care if they raise issues of concern32
  • lack of knowledge and information on issues of substitute decision making, including the implications of a power of attorney and enduring power of attorney33
  • fear of violence and crime, particularly relating to alcohol34
  • loss of confidence to make complaints or seek redress, associated with loss of independence.35


Submission from Centrelink.
Ibid.
Law and Justice Foundation of NSW roundtable with community and non-government organisations, 16 October 2002.
Submission from Centrelink.
Submission from Nolene Baker.
Law and Justice Foundation of NSW roundtable with community and non-government organisations, 16 October 2002.

30  Submission from Centrelink.
31  Ibid.
32  Law and Justice Foundation of NSW roundtable with community and non-government organisations, 16 October 2002.
33  Submission from Centrelink.
34  Submission from Nolene Baker.
35  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