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You will be required to write an essa that addresses the following statement:

‘Lawyers and others have long been concerned with the inability of significant numbers of people to afford the legal services necessary to assert or protect their rights and interests. One response has been for lawyers individually or collectively to provide free legal services to poor or disadvantaged people. Other responses include advocacy for reform of the legal system or particular laws, welfare state funding of legal services, developing alternatives to the formal legal system and/or working for more fundamental social change.’ 

Impact of Rising Legal Fees on Australian Society

It has been stated by Ross that there is a significant gap between practice and theory in the Australian community which is a lack of connection between economy and democracy.  Thus a significant injustice takes place which may be faced by most of the people in the community. It has been further stated by Singer that the cost if justice in Australia is prohibitively high. Where all persons are required to be treated equally before the law there would be no equality provided to a person who is not able to afford a lawyers in case of a legal dispute. ‘Lawyers and others have long been concerned with the inability of significant numbers of people to afford the legal services necessary to assert or protect their rights and interests. One response has been for lawyers individually or collectively to provide free legal services to poor or disadvantaged people. Other responses include advocacy for reform of the legal system or particular laws, welfare state funding of legal services, developing alternatives to the formal legal system and/or working for more fundamental social change.’

The middle class cannot any longer afford to defend or file a legal claim as the price at which justice is provided in Australia has doubled over the last decade. Legal disputes are the kind of disputes which every person tries to restrain from but they inevitable effect all individuals as they are inevitable in the contemporary society. All individuals in the society are aware of their rights and liabilities and they do not want to miss out of making a claim where their rights have been infringed. However  as discussed above a legal action consists of significant cost which most people in the society would not be able to incur. In addition the legal system is so complex that a normal person cannot survive in it without the adequate and appropriate legal advice.  The situation of high legal cost in Australia is causing significant problems for those who are involved in legal disputes and do not have access to economic resources.  Those who belong to the  investigation conducted by Roach reveal that endless delays in court trial, rising legal fees and the high cost included in relation to an expert witness have lifted the legal cost to an extent that it is no longer within the reach of ordinary Australians. It has been shown by latest figures that legal aid has been applied for by more than 20,000 people last year in South Australia alone. Further it has been provided that one out of four parties indulging in a civil case are found to have represented themselves as they are no longer able to afford legal fees. In the court observation made relation to part A it was seen that a part who had a strong claim was not able to sustain the claim in court as it had a relatively inexperienced lawyers as compared to the advocate on the other side. The party had to settle with an inexperience lawyer as they did not have the resources to afford a good lawyers because if increased legal fee.  It has been provided the president of law society of SA that a case in the district court in relation to a robbery trail will cost around $100000 which would have been only $40000 a year ago. In addition a massive gulf is created in the criminal arena in relation to those who are eligible to get legal aid and those who are not able to afford a representation.   

Initiatives and Criticisms in Addressing the Issue

There have been several initiatives which has been taken in relation to addressing the problem of rising legal fees and making the system more affordable for the public. However these undertakings have to be proportionate to the contemporary condition of the judicial system.  One of the critical tests in relation to the judicial system is that whether it is simple, fair, accessible and affordable. However the Australian legal system for many years is falling short on all these fonts.  In relation to the free legal aid being provided Australia there have been significant criticisms made. One of the primary criticisms in relation to the policy is that support is limited to those who belong to the lowest income groups and not to those who belong to the middle class group. However the contemporary position in the court is such that even those belonging to the middle class group also are not able to afford the rising cost in the legal system. in addition it has been argued that government funded legal assistance services which are provided in the country are not able to keep up with the rising demand, population and inflation growth. In addition a real fall in the per capita funding is depicted through various budget figures. 


It has been argued by Krayem and Ahmed that most Australians are not able to afford legal help in relation to anything but the very basic legal issues. It is not possible for people to plan when a legal issue may come up. There is no budget which is maintained by the people in relation to legal issues like discrimination, unfair dismissal, eviction, marriage break down or any problems related to debts. Normally lawyers charge on an hourly basis in relation to the assistance provided by them. Where any legal issue in complex in nature and requires more time and expertise the fees of the lawyers would rise and it will automatically go beyond the middle class society’s reach. In addition the fee also depends on the experience of a lawyers. As seen in the court observation conducted a party was losing out on a very strong claim as he was not able to afford a experienced lawyer which had been done by the party on the other side.

There have been various platforms which have been provided to the people through which they can deal with legal issues in a cost effective manner. One of such platform is that which has been provided through the Australian Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) and is known as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Through this platform issues in relation to consumer laws which the public is subjected to are addressed. However platforms of these kinds are very limited and apply to a very specific area of law. Thus they are not able to address the problem of growing cost in the Australian legal system effectively and appropriately.

Conclusion

From the above discussion it can be concluded that the problems in relation to the rising cost of legal proceedings in Australia have a significant impact in the middle class and lower class of the society. In addition as the lower class is provided support to an extent by government funded assistance the middle classes are the real victims of the rising cost. The lawyers are providing free legal advice in some situation order to address the issue, however such advice is only provided in relation to very basic legal problems. The natural of legal problems in most of the cases is not simple and basic and involves a long time period for which continuous payments have to be made by those who are involved in the issue. These expenses are moreover  increasing very rapidly and is going beyond the reach of ordinary individuals. Thus in the given situation it be evidently stated that the measures of addressing the problem such as free legal advice and government funded assistance is not able to address the problem in the contemporary period and new and strong alternatives are required. 

Australian Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)

Cohen, Michèle. "Child Protection in the Family Court of Western Australia." (2015).

Communitylawaustralia.org.au https://www.communitylawaustralia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/CLA_Report_Final.pdf (2018)

Cooper, Donna M. "Pro bono mediation and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in Brisbane: Lessons learned." Family Law Review 6.3 (2016): 230-237.

Findlay, Mark, Stephen Odgers, and Stanley Meng Heong Yeo. Australian criminal justice. Oxford University Press, 2015.

Krayem, G. and Ahmed, F., 2017. Islamic Community Processes in Australia. Gender and Justice in Family Law Disputes: Women, Mediation, and Religious Arbitration, p.246.

Roach, Kent. "The wrongful conviction of Indigenous people in Australia and Canada." Flinders LJ 17 (2015): 203.

Singer, Linda. Settling disputes: Conflict resolution in business, families, and the legal system. Routledge, 2018.

'Slow, Expensive, Complicated' Legal System Must Be Improved (2018) The Conversation <https://theconversation.com/slow-expensive-complicated-legal-system-must-be-improved-25382>.

Cite This Work

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My Assignment Help. (2020). Essay: Rising Cost Of Legal Proceedings In Australia: Issues And Alternatives.. Retrieved from https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/blb1114-legal-research-methods.

"Essay: Rising Cost Of Legal Proceedings In Australia: Issues And Alternatives.." My Assignment Help, 2020, https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/blb1114-legal-research-methods.

My Assignment Help (2020) Essay: Rising Cost Of Legal Proceedings In Australia: Issues And Alternatives. [Online]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/blb1114-legal-research-methods
[Accessed 16 July 2024].

My Assignment Help. 'Essay: Rising Cost Of Legal Proceedings In Australia: Issues And Alternatives.' (My Assignment Help, 2020) <https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/blb1114-legal-research-methods> accessed 16 July 2024.

My Assignment Help. Essay: Rising Cost Of Legal Proceedings In Australia: Issues And Alternatives. [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2020 [cited 16 July 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/blb1114-legal-research-methods.

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