Access to justice

  • ALA condemns government failure to act on ATSI justice report

    1st Apr 2019

    The ALA has joined with other professional legal bodies to condemn the government’s failure to act on the ‘Pathways to Justice’ report

  • TAS police charging fees for evidence is outrageous and unfair, say lawyers

    2nd Nov 2018

    Tasmanians are being billed by police to view the evidence of their criminal and traffic offence charges which is both unfair and out of line with the rest of Australia, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • Current legal struggles for people seeking asylum in Australia

    25th Oct 2018

    Dr Carolyn Graydon, Principal Solicitor and Manager of the Human Rights Law Program, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre presented this paper at the ALA National Conference on 19 October.

  • Lawyers call for inquiry into mental health insurance discrimination

    15th Jun 2018

    The ALA is urging the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry to investigate discrimination by insurers on the basis of mental health.

  • Limited access to National Redress Scheme is just not fair, says Australian Lawyers Alliance

    30th May 2018

    People with past criminal convictions or abused in immigration detention should not be denied access to redress payments under the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sex Abuse, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Proposed anti-bikie laws infringe on basic rights

    26th Apr 2018

    Tasmanian Police have today released a consultation paper flagging so-called anti-bikie laws, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Alleged assault by police on disability pensioner extremely concerning

    4th Apr 2018

    Footage showing an alleged brutal assault by a number of Victoria police officers on a vulnerable, unarmed disability pensioner is extremely disturbing, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Many NSW, VIC survivors of institutional child abuse blocked from just

    9th Mar 2018

    Unnecessarily strict eligibility requirements mean that many of the most vulnerable survivors of institutional child abuse in New South Wales and Victoria will miss out on accessing the Commonwealth’s Redress Scheme, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Lawyers back Senate call for protections for whistleblowers, journali

    7th Feb 2018

    Legislative protection for journalists, free speech and whistleblowers is a crucial step in ensuring that public interest journalism can survive and even thrive, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • SSM laws a momentous moment for equality in Australia

    8th Dec 2017

    The new law legalising same-sex marriage in Australia marks a watershed moment for individual rights and freedom before the law, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Threatening journalists with jail does not serve the public interest

    23rd Nov 2017

    Laws that prohibit reporting on the actions of governments to ensure that they operate within the law undermine democracy, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • ‘Yes’ vote on SSM survey supports equal access to rights for all

    15th Nov 2017

    The decisive ‘Yes’ result in Australia’s recent same-sex marriage survey is a vindication of the importance of equal access to rights for all, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • UN body recommends urgent action to remedy Australia’s human rights

    10th Nov 2017

    The UN Human Rights Committee has today slammed Australia’s human rights record, recommending the implementation of ‘comprehensive federal legislation’ to guarantee human rights, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • The use of secret evidence in criminal and civil proceedings

    5th Oct 2017

    Court procedures aim to ensure fairness between parties. In criminal matters, the intention is to ensure that the party with the most to lose, the defendant, is assured a fair trial, to avoid punishing innocent people for crimes they have not committed. This requires setting out the case against an accused clearly enough that they can refute it. In civil matters, these procedures seek to ensure fairness between the parties, including ensuring that both sides have access to relevant evidence. 

  • Life as a regional plaintiff lawyer

    21st Sep 2017

    The benefits and challenges of life as a regional plaintiff lawyer.

  • Minister seeks to evade the law by criticising refugee advocates

    30th Aug 2017

    By criticising lawyers seeking to assist refugees and asylum seekers, Minister Dutton is seeking to evade the government’s responsibilities, undermining accountability and the rule of law, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Relaxation of dangerous secrecy laws in Border Force Act is welcome

    14th Aug 2017

    The Commonwealth’s move to amend the Border Force Act by removing outrageous secrecy provisions for detention camp employees is a welcome but overdue move, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Psychometric testing of malingering

    10th Aug 2017

    Professor Ian R Coyle discusses the accuracy of Symptom Validity Assessment Tests (SVTs) in assessing the psychological status of litigants and identifying malingering

     

  • Human rights protections must be part of national security review

    21st Jul 2017

    Federal government proposals to combine Australian security agencies into a single ‘national security super-agency’ must also include strengthened human rights protections for all people in Australia, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • The language of the law

    20th Jul 2017

    Lawyers are very analytical and very specific in their use of terminology. They choose their terms carefully and interpret them precisely. While such precision may seem to be a curious and even humorous idiosyncrasy to the lay-person, it can have a devastating effect on those seeking access to justice.

     

  • UN migrants expert calls for Australian human rights act

    17th May 2017

    The call by a United Nations (UN) expert for an Australian human rights act reminds us that fundamental human rights in Australia are not protected by a Bill of Rights, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • QLD lawyers welcome Walter Sofronoff QC as new President of the Court

    31st Mar 2017

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has today welcomed the appointment of Walter Sofronoff QC as Queensland’s new President of the Court of Appeal.

  • Racial discrimination laws no threat to free speech

    28th Feb 2017

    A review into Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act has shown that the country’s racial discrimination laws are working well and that there is no reason to alter the current legislation, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Torture treaty ratification could open offshore detention to internati

    10th Feb 2017

    Ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) has the potential to radically improve conditions in detention in Australia and offshore, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Proposed criminal trial evidence reforms could jail the innocent: lawy

    19th Dec 2016

    Proposals by the Royal Commission into child abuse to weaken the evidence rules and reduce the protections for the accused could irreparably undermine the rule of law in Australia, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Lawyers call for resignation of Attorney-General George Brandis

    26th Oct 2016

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has today called for the immediate resignation of Federal Attorney-General George Brandis, in light of this week's resignation of Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson SC.

  • Queensland class action regime welcome

    5th Aug 2016

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has today welcomed the State Government’s announcement that it will introduce a class actions regime, with the measure an important step in improving access to justice and legal rights in Queensland.

  • Criminal offences may have been committed by DIPB in offshore detentio

    27th Jun 2016

    Criminal offences may have been committed by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIPB) or its contractors against people being held in immigration detention, according to a recent report released by the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

  • High Court terrorism ruling points to need for Constitutional reform

    15th Jun 2016

    The High Court today ruled that a defendant charged with Commonwealth terrorism offences cannot opt for a trial by judge alone in the New South Wales Supreme Court. 

  • Failure to provide abortion to rape victim a new low in detainee care

    19th Oct 2015

    The Commonwealth appears to have failed in its duty of care to a 23-year-old detainee rape victim, by neglecting to provide appropriate medical counselling and advice before denying her an abortion, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Proposed ‘crime levy’ just a tax on the poor

    25th Sep 2015

    The Tasmanian government’s proposed ‘crime levy’ is an unfair tax that will reduce access to justice and fall unfairly on low income earners, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • NSW Bill removing time limits for child abuse litigation is welcome

    18th Sep 2015

    Amendments introduced into the NSW Parliament by NSW MP David Shoebridge would remove a significant barrier obstructing access to justice for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • DIBP leaves regulator in dark on appalling Nauru detainee conditions

    28th Aug 2015

    Numerous incidents over the past two years, including allegations of sexual misconduct, harassment and assaults of people held on Nauru, do not appear to have been reported to Comcare by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (‘DIBP’), the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Montara oil spill: Australia’s six years of failure

    21st Aug 2015

    The Australian Government has failed in its responsibility to investigate the effects of the country’s worst-ever oil spill from an oil rig, from which devastated fishing villages and communities across Indonesia still feel the impact today, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Lawyers call for cool heads over Adani ruling

    19th Aug 2015

    Restricting the standing provisions of Australia’s national Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act would be to the detriment of the rights of ordinary citizens, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • ‘Blind reporting’ of child sex allegations won't protect victims

    23rd Jun 2015

    Blind reporting of child sex allegations by the Catholic Church may be protecting abusers and those who knew and failed to act, as well as placing the NSW police service in breach of its obligations to the public and potentially of the criminal law, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Vatican response to bishop failure on sexual misconduct is inadequate

    12th Jun 2015

    The imposition by the Vatican of a system for dealing with misconduct by bishops, including the failure to deal appropriately with abusive priests, is simply inadequate, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • ‘Paperless’ death in custody shows lack of police accountability

    28th May 2015

    The tragic death in police custody of a man arrested under controversial Northern Territory ‘paperless arrest’ legislation highlights the need for authorities to be held accountable for people held in detention, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Commonwealth is failing victims of institutional child abuse

    25th Mar 2015

    The federal government is abdicating its responsibility to victims of institutional child abuse by failing to support a national redress scheme, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • Victims of crime compensation changes do not go far enough

    20th Mar 2015

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has welcomed the NSW Government’s partial backdown over unfair legislation which slashed compensation for victims of crime, but has said that recent and future victims will also be treated unfairly unless further changes are made to the compensation scheme.

  • Moss Review shows Nauru asylum seekers are our responsibility

    20th Mar 2015

    The Federal Government’s own review of asylum seekers held in offshore detention centres on Nauru shows that it does have a non-delegable duty of care to people detained and may leave the Commonwealth liable for a swathe of future compensation claims, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Govt treatment of Manus detainees could be found negligent

    12th Dec 2014

    The Manus Island Report shows clearly that the Australian Government may have breached its duty of care to deceased detainee Reza Berati and could be found negligent for its treatment of asylum seekers detained on Manus Island, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Data retention Bill is a recipe for privacy abuse

    30th Oct 2014

    Australians will have no protection against security agencies misusing their personal or private information under proposed legislation governing a mandatory data retention scheme, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • John Ellis named ALA 2014 National Civil Justice Award Winner

    24th Oct 2014

    A man who has led the fight to make the Catholic Church and other institutions accountable for the actions of its clergy and staff has been declared the winner of the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) National Civil Justice Award.

  • Anti-terror laws threaten separation of powers

    13th Oct 2014

    Key clauses in the Commonwealth’s proposed new Foreign Fighters anti-terror legislation could be unconstitutional as they undermine the separation of powers, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Indonesia asks for help with toxic Montara oil spill consequences

    30th Sep 2014

    The Australian Government should commit to negotiate for an independent investigation into the effects of the Montara oil spill following a direct request for assistance from the Indonesia Government, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Foreign Fighters Bill will lead to innocent people being detained

    25th Sep 2014

    The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill lowers the threshold for the arrest of individuals on alleged terrorism offences and will lead to innocent people being arrested and detained, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Govt’s anti-terror law promises will not stop abuse of power

    24th Sep 2014

    Promises by the Federal Government not to abuse proposed anti-terror legislation are not enough to protect the rights of Australians, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Terror threat to Australia’s legal system

    24th Sep 2014

    Australia is already losing the ‘war on terror’ if it starts abandoning principles as fundamentally important as the rule of law and the presumption of innocence, the Australian Lawyers Alliance said today.

  • Good result for Horvath but more needed to secure justice

    23rd Sep 2014

    An apology and ex-gratia payment to police assault victim Corinna Horvath is a welcome development but much more needs to be done by the Victorian Government to prevent similar situations happening again, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Suspects deserve presumption of innocence following terror raids

    18th Sep 2014

    Media coverage of the terror raids carried out by Federal Police in Sydney and Brisbane is undermining the presumption of innocence for those individuals questioned or arrested during the proceedings, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • ALA welcomes Royal Commission extension

    3rd Sep 2014

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) welcomes the government’s commitment to the extension of the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

  • Catholic Church puts asset protection ahead of abuse victims

    12th Aug 2014

    The Roman Catholic Church has demonstrated once again that it puts asset protection ahead of the interests of child sexual abuse victims, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Millions spent on ‘voluntary return’ of asylum seekers

    5th Aug 2014

    The Commonwealth has spent nearly $3 million on the ‘voluntary return’ of almost 1100 asylum seekers to their country of origin in less than a year, according to information obtained under freedom of information laws by the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) today.

  • Asylum seeker cover-up allegations constitute abuse in care

    31st Jul 2014

    Allegations that the Department of Immigration tried to cover up mental health problems amongst child-aged asylum seekers constitutes abuse in care and may leave the Commonwealth liable for a swathe of future compensation claims, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.

  • Media coverage, July 2014

    1st Jul 2014

    Just some of the media coverage generated by the Australian Lawyers Alliance or its members during the month of July 2014.

  • Australian Lawyers Alliance supports the stand taken today by QLD Bar

    13th Jun 2014

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance supports the stand taken today by QLD Bar Association President, Peter Davis QC, who has resigned in protest of the government's appointment of Judge Tim Carmody as Chief Justice of Queensland.

  • ALA appears at Productivity Commission Access to Justice Inquiry

    4th Jun 2014

    This week, the Australian Lawyers Alliance was invited to appear before the Productivity Commission in its inquiry into Access to Justice.

  • Justice and compassion come second best

    25th Mar 2014

    In evidence at the Royal Commission yesterday, Cardinal Pell conceded that justice required that a legal entity be created for victims of clergy abuse to sue.

  • Election winner must have heart when dealing with asylum seekers - ALA

    3rd Sep 2013

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance is calling on the winner of this weekend’s federal election to adopt compassionate asylum seeker policies and in doing so both improve access to justice for some of the world’s most vulnerable and give Australia’s international reputation a boost at the same time.

  • ALA joins pressure on governments to lift Vic legal aid funding

    14th Aug 2013

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance is backing the Law Institute of Victoria and the Victorian Bar Association’s call for the Victorian and federal governments to immediately review funding for legal aid saying more than a decade of inadequate funding has taken a significant toll on Victorians’ ability to access justice.

  • ALA applauds criminal appeals review process

    21st Mar 2013

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance today commended the South Australian Government for its initiative and vision in bringing about a new review process for criminal convictions with fresh and compelling evidence upon which to base further enquiry.

  • NDIS Bill inadequate in protecting rights of those with disabilities

    19th Feb 2013

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance today told an Adelaide public hearing on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) that the Bill, in its present form, would not adequately protect the rights of those with disabilities.

  • ALA expresses concern over new anti-doping body powers

    11th Feb 2013

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance today expressed concern over the federal government’s plan to remove privilege against self-incrimination and to compel witnesses in Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) investigations.

  • ALA hosts Chinese judges to educate about Australian judicial process

    27th Nov 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance met with 20 judges from in and around the Fujian Province in Sydney, today, as part of an educational exchange to examine court case management in Australia.

  • ALA forms pro bono committee

    19th Nov 2012

    A new pro bono collaborative committee, to help everyday Australians better access justice, is being formed between the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) and the National Pro Bono Resource Centre based at the University of NSW Law Faculty.

  • Australian Gov failing in its duty to asylum seekers

    19th Nov 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance has labelled as ‘abysmal’ the Australian government’s failure to ensure 14 asylum seekers, facing rioting charges in a Nauru court, are given proper legal representation.

  • Royal Commission into child sex abuse is first stage of justice

    13th Nov 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance is calling on the federal government to draw knowledge from Ireland’s victim restitution methods of 2009 when it comes time to consider how best to help compensate Australian institutional abuse victims as part of the Federal Royal Commission just announced.

  • Royal Commission powers needed for NSW Inquiry into child sex abuse

    12th Nov 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance says a full, wide-ranging NSW Royal Commission into child sexual abuse in religious institutions is the only way of ensuring true justice is served for hundreds abused as children while in the care of religious institutions in the state.

  • ALA renews calls for NSW Royal Commission into child sex abuse

    9th Nov 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance has renewed its call for a NSW Royal Commission into child sex abuse in religious institutions following further evidence by a senior police officer on the extent of abuse and alleged cover up practices in the Newcastle Hunter region.

  • Pendulum swinging back to rights for injured to seek redress

    26th Oct 2012

    For the first time since the media announced a “public liability crisis” in 2002, the pendulum is starting to swing back towards the rights of the injured to redress within our courts, lawyer Travis Schultz told the Australian Lawyers Alliance National Conference in Glenelg today.

  • A second rate legal review service adds insult to injury - ALA

    26th Sep 2012

    Injured workers should remain unexcited by the NSW Government’s announcement today of a new 'free legal review service' for some work injury disputes.

  • Proposed abolition of right to silence in NSW will allow police abuse

    19th Sep 2012

    The right of individuals to remain silent when being interrogated by police is a fundamental human right reflected in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in Canadian and US human rights laws and for New South Wales Attorney-General Greg Smith to give the community only 10 days to comment on his proposal to dismantle that right is appalling, said the Australian Lawyers Alliance today.

  • Vocal national non-profit legal organisation in ACT for conference

    18th Sep 2012

    A national non-profit legal organisation that has been calling for a National Inquiry into abuses in religious institutions as well as vocalising concerns about treatment of asylum seekers, children, mandatory sentencing and excessive police powers, will hold its annual ACT conference in Canberra on Friday.

  • Lawyers emphasise right to choose in national insurance schemes

    24th Aug 2012

    The National Disability Insurance and National Injury Insurance Schemes, being advanced by the Federal Government, are being discussed in Perth today (Friday 24 August) by lawyers at the coalface of personal injury law.

  • Asylum seeker policies and NDIS concerns discussed at WA conference

    21st Aug 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance annual WA Conference in Perth on Friday promises a diverse and cutting edge program with presentations from the Western Australian Governor, high profile judges and specialist barristers and lawyers.

  • Unjust mandatory sentencing laws jailing vulnerable and marginalised

    17th Aug 2012

    “The jailing of an impoverished Indonesian fisherman in South Australia last Thursday, in what the trial judge labelled as the 'lowest level of involvement' for a people smuggling crime, is highlighting unjust Australian laws that discriminatorily incarcerate people,” Australian Lawyers Alliance National President, Tony Kerin, said today.

  • 'Right to silence' crucial for democracy in NSW - ALA

    15th Aug 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance is expressing disbelief that the O’Farrell Government would strike at the heart of democratic principles with an attack on every NSW citizen’s right to silence by amending such a law.

  • Trial by media has no place in upholding justice in Hey Dad case - ALA

    10th Aug 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance is today urging restraint on the part of the media and the alleged victims of former Hey Dad star Robert Hughes, following prejudicial comments in the media that could impinge on Mr Hughes right to a fair trial.

  • Failure to report may go straight to the top

    10th Jul 2012

    The allegations of failure to disclose serious sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia may now go right to the top.

  • DPP should be briefed by police: Failure to report child sexual abuse

    6th Jul 2012

    The ALA calls for a brief to be prepared by the police for the DPP in respect of the conduct of all three senior priests involved in the meeting at St Mary’s Cathedral on 3 September 1992, following the radio interview with Father Usher on ABC AM this morning.

  • ALA renews calls for national inquiry into child sex abuse in church

    5th Jul 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance renews its calls for a national inquiry into the abuse of children within the Roman Catholic Church. It is unacceptable for the Church to investigate its own failure to investigate child sexual abuse.

  • Call for Royal Commission into abuse of children in care of church

    4th Jul 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance is calling for a National Royal Commission into abuse of children in the care of the Catholic Church, following an ABC Four Corners program on Monday night that assisted in publicly ventilating the issue.

  • Limiting expert witness use in Vic civil trials may hinder justice

    22nd Jun 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance expressed concern today at news the Victorian Government is introducing new laws to limit and streamline the use of expert evidence in civil trials, fearing it will hinder access to justice in the courts.

  • ALA critical at second attempt to erode rights by SA government

    18th Jun 2012

    “The attempt by the South Australian Labour Government to again erode the right to be awarded costs in claims in prosecutions, which fail in summary hearings, shows disregard for the parliamentary process,” Australian Lawyers Alliance South Australian President, Tony Kerin, said.

  • Assange anti-extradition rally

    30th May 2012

    Details released of the Julian Assange anti-extradition rally on Thursday 31 May 2012.

  • More govt funds needed for drug prevention and treatment

    24th May 2012

    “Today’s Institute of Criminology Report, released by the Justice Minister Jason Clare, linking drug use levels to crime, shows the only way to stop such criminal behaviour is by diverting funds from prison construction to drug prevention and treatment,” Australian Lawyers Alliance National President Greg Barns said.

  • ALA welcomes NDIS initiative

    10th May 2012

    “The ALA today welcomes the Federal Government’s initial commitment to start funding the NDIS, but remains concerned regarding the long term financial sustainability of the scheme.”

  • ALA calls for inquiry into South Australia's CTP Scheme

    4th May 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance is calling for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the South Australian Government’s planned CTP Scheme changes amid fears that an existing, fully-functional, fault-based scheme, currently delivering to the state’s road injured, is being sacrificed to force-fit the state into a national injury, no-fault insurance scheme, which may not deliver.

  • ALA calls for National Inquiry into sexual abuse of children

    19th Apr 2012

    The Australian Lawyers Alliance today called for a National Inquiry into sexual abuse perpetrated in religious institutions.

  • Harming a pregnant woman less serious than a policeman - ACT law

    5th Apr 2012

    Under proposed ACT law it will be considered far more serious to harm a policeman than a pregnant woman, The Australian Lawyers Alliance is warning.

  • ALA Civil Justice Award recipient recognised for flood assistance

    17th Feb 2012

    A man who went beyond the call of duty to assist Queensland’s flood-ravaged and destitute communities, in December 2010, has been recognised with The Australian Lawyers Alliance Civil Justice Award.