Community Legal Centres Queensland believes that
- all people, regardless of their background or present circumstances, should be able to access sufficient assistance (legal or non-legal) to enable them to know, understand and stand up for their rights in the public domain.
- individuals should be able to seek and achieve justice through the system of courts established to achieve this end
Community Legal Centres Queensland supports
- Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the right to liberty and security of the person (particularly, with respect to arrest and detention)
- Article 14, that all persons shall be equal before the courts and tribunals. In the determination of any criminal charge against her or him, or of her or his rights and obligations in a suit at law, everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law.
Community Legal Centres Queensland advocates
- the strengthening and modernisation of community legal centre infrastructure as a resource for building stronger communities;
- greater provision of legal aid resources across all areas of law;
- the amendment or introduction of various mechanisms to enhance the ability for individuals of diverse circumstances to be represented in court by themselves or another;
- greater financial assistance for services which assist vulnerable, disadvantaged or remote individuals in accessing the court system, particularly in the areas of employment law; child protection; consumer credit, debt and insurance; coronial inquiries; discrimination;
- increased resourcing of alternative dispute resolution processes;
- the introduction of a ‘Legalcare’ scheme;
- adherence to the principle of non-discrimination in dealings with all persons who come into contact with the legal process, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons, persons with a disability, and persons of cultural and linguistic diversity
- increased education of the police force, judicial officers, and court and tribunal staff and legal practitioners regarding the early identification of persons with a disability entering the criminal justice system to ensure that appropriate and tailored services can be provided, including clear pathways for referrals to community support services which have time limits and strong accountability mechanisms regarding active responses
- a new legal policy framework to modernise Queensland’s approach to dealing with persons with disability in contact with the youth and criminal justice systems; and
- preventative approaches to ensure that children and young people at risk do not enter the criminal justice system or suffer abuse; including time limits with strong accountability mechanisms for active responses to requests for inter and intra departmental collaborations, referrals and handovers.
Community Legal Centres Queensland QCAT submission
This submission to the QCAT Act review calls for reforms that prioritise justice over efficiency; ensure procedural fairness; strengthen the right to legal representation, especially for vulnerable clients; improve the quality of decision making; and guarantee equal access to justice for all Queenslanders, not just those in the south-east.