Community Legal Centres Of Australia

2159 WordsJun 3, 20169 Pages
it might be said: I Introduction Community Legal Centres first began to gain prominence in Australia in the 1970’s. They were founded in an attempt to improve ‘access to justice’ by delivering legal services to poor and disadvantaged communities. Since then, the role of Community Legal Centres in NSW has continued to evolve, largely in line with the development of the concept of ‘access to justice’. As such, this essay will consider the concept of access to justice from both legal and non-legal perspective, in order to provide a holistic view of the role of Community Legal Centres in NSW. This will be done by looking at the impact of social, political and economic forces on the role of Community Legal Centres over time. II Discussion A Defining ‘Access to Justice’ 1 ‘Access to Justice’ as Access to the Legal System The concept of ‘access to justice’ is primarily reliant on liberal ideology. Liberalism is at the heart of the Australian legal system, with particular emphasis placed upon notions of liberty, justice, equality and individual rights. This is further evidenced by the fact, that the right to one’s day in court i.e. to participate in legal process, has become almost synonymous with ‘access to justice’. Nonetheless, despite formally guaranteed rules of standing and procedure, neoliberal forces will often prevent the most disadvantaged and marginalised citizens from gaining equal access to the legal system. 2 ‘Access to Justice’ Beyond the Legal System
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