Access to law is a basic right which entitles each individual to just and fair treatment by the law. Each Australian should have the right to justice, the right to obtain legal information and the right to understand how legal proceedings may affect them. Having access to justice, or lack thereof, has many implications for Legal Aid, law reform and alternative dispute resolution. This is essential for litigants and prisoners preparing for proceedings, but also the future of the justice system in Australia.
Unfortunately, prisoners often face barriers to justice. Access to law is challenging when faced with time restraints, restricted access to resources and a lack of legal knowledge. These hardships are compounded by a lack of internet or physical segregation experienced in prisons. When legal advice and representation is limited or unavailable, prisoners become isolated from justice. This increases unjust outcomes as prisoners are ill-equipped to represent themselves in courts. It is for these reasons that we have dedicated our next issue of Just Us to Access to Law.