Media Release

Law Society calls for greater investment in justice system in State Budget

22 August 2018

The Law Society is calling for a greater investment across all facets of the justice system ahead of the State Budget on 4 September.

Read the Society’s State Budget Submission

The Society hopes the Government in its first State Budget can redress the disappointing outcomes in the budgets of previous administrations and properly invest in the resources that are essential for a fair and functional justice system.

Our justice system involves the courts, private practitioners, public sector lawyers, legal assistance services, prisons, specific medical services, and several programs and services aimed at enhancing community safety.

“If any or all of these components are under-resourced, our society is poorer,” Law Society President Tim Mellor said.

“Properly investing in the institutions of law and justice, as our State Budget Submission urges, would produce positive benefits for the community as a whole,”

“From a social perspective, ensuring that we have a system that facilitates access to justice for all, protects basic rights and freedoms, administers justice fairly and expediently, and provides support to for our most vulnerable citizens, is something that as a society we should be aspiring to.”

“From an economic standpoint, making the proper investments in our justice system today will save money in the long run.”

One of the more worrying trends of recent times is the increase in Government-imposed fees to access court services, where those fees are funnelled back into general revenue rather than the institutions providing the services. For example, SA is the most expensive State to apply for probate for a Will (which is required to administer a deceased estate). Despite the cost, it takes longer in SA than any other State to get that grant.

Some of the Society’s key asks include:

  • A significant increase in funding for the Courts Administration Authority
  • Fairer compensation for economic and non-economic loss to be awarded to motor vehicle accident victims
  • An upgrade to the probate Registry and a fairer method for calculating probate fees.
  • Increased funding for legal aid and legal assistance services
  • Increased funding for rehabilitation and support programs aimed at reducing youth offending
  • Programs for prisoners designed to reduce recidivism
  • Legal representation funding for those appearing before SACAT in guardianship matters
  • Ongoing funding for a five-year justice reinvestment action plan