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Submission for the Incarceration Rates of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Australians Inquiry

Lazarides, D. Submission for the Incarceration Rates of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Australians Inquiry.

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I, Dayna Lazarides, am in my last semester of my Bachelor of Laws degree. In the first years of my degree, I studied areas of law which focused on the law itself. The demand for access to justice was never part of the discussion. However, this year through working as a law student in a Community Legal Centre, I have realised the apposite need for legal aid support, nationwide. Continual access to justice is, unfortunately, not as procurable to all Australians as one may think. This is especially relevant where the law is represented through Lady Justice, a symbol highlighting the law’s objectivity, impartiality and balancing act. Legal services admirably provide legal aid to hundreds of thousands of Australians every year. However unmet legal assistance produces disadvantage and challenges for Indigenous and Torres Straight Islander Australians. Australian legal practitioners have strict ethical obligations, which is not different to the obligations set out in the Legal Aid Commission Act 1976. The strict conduct rules lawyers follow can create barriers for persons to access justice. The laws of the Legal Aid Commission Act 1976, focusing on section 61(2)(c)(i), need to be amended to ensure legal practitioners have flexibility within their practices in regional communities. This is vital in the aim of providing access to justice to all Indigenous Australians. This submission will focus on how the conflict of interest rule, coupled with the strict conducts rules lawyers are bound to, may contribute to the incarceration of Indigenous and Torres Straight Islander Australians.

Item Type: Others
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Law
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Related URLs:
United Nations SDGs: Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
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