Accessing the Law

Essay by dx91High School, 10th grade February 2008

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1)Identify some of the difficulties which people have in accessing the law.

Not everyone has a chance to enforce their rights in Australia's legal system, because they have difficulty in accessing the law. This lack of access to the law may be a result of barriers such as cost, time, education and procedure, language, and geographical location. These barriers often discourage people from initiating legal proceedings.

The cost of legal advice, assistance and representation can be so high that a person may decide not to enforce their rights. This means that one's ability to exercise legal rights is affected by one's financial situation. The cost of legal advice may not be a problem for the rich but may be prohibitive for the poor. The most disadvantaged is the middle classes who aren't available Legal Aid and who may not be able to afford the prohibitive legal costs. Legal Aid helps many people who cannot afford the costs, however funding is limited and do not cover civil law matters.

Covering your own legal costs is not the only issue that needs to be taken into account when initiating legal proceedings. If one loses their case, they are also liable for the legal costs of the winning party. Families who have trouble in accessing family courts can solve their problems through mediation. In mediation, a neutral third party helps to resolve a legal dispute between two parties. A legal system that is not affordable is not accessible.

Another barrier to equal access to the law is the prospect of a lengthy trial. Some people such as single mothers do not have the time or financial resources to attend trials that drag on for a long period of time. Also, the longer a trial is, the more chance there is of unfair...