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Government Should Heed Justice Estcourt's Advice

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Friday, 6 November 2015

Tags: Justice, Courts

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Justice spokesperson

The government would do well to heed the advice of Justice Stephen Estcourt QC on court 'user-pays' polices “that treat justice as a service that can be bought”.

Justice is not a service that is sold to those who can afford it. It is a fundamental right of every Tasmanian.

This government’s push towards a 'user pays' system risks undermining, to use the words of Justice Estcourt, “the fundamental and essential function of courts in dispensing justice in a modern, democratic society”.

This has the greatest impact on our most vulnerable and least able to pay. These people make up the majority of those who are currently seeking justice through Tasmania’s courts.

The Liberal Government's enthusiasm for adopting a 'user pays' system has already found its first outlet in their move to introduce a criminal levy on those convicted in Tasmanian courts.

Access to justice is a public right, it's not just for wealthy Tasmanians or corporations who can afford it. The cost of accessing justice should not risk financially crippling the most vulnerable in our community.

Our justice system shouldn't be based on a best business case that ignores its fundamental purpose, ensuring the rule of law.

Access to justice is the right of every Tasmanian and any attempt to undermine this fundamental democratic right should be resisted at all costs.