Unlocking the law: the future of access to justice

Unlocking the law: the future of access to justice

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Should justice be a scarce and costly commodity, and legal rights exist only on paper?

Managing Director Bevan Warner presented at Victoria University’s international conference today on how we can harness the potential that new hi-tech platforms present to instead unlock justice and open it up to more Australians.

‘If we are going to unlock the law, we have to be more imaginative,’ said Bevan. ‘Meeting the burgeoning, seemingly infinite and often overwhelming legal need in the community requires a principled and ethical commitment to go beyond one-on-one legal help. This is one of Victoria Legal Aid's core beliefs. 

‘For those of us who work are concerned about justice, without appropriate checks, technology will not be the great equaliser. It will simply entrench inequalities.

'Thankfully we have options as we adapt processes to new technologies. You get to decide!

'You can be complicit and watch technology be used to streamline the status quo. We can all stand by and watch government invest in finding new, more effective means to control and surveil, all the while watching people give up and forfeit their rights as citizens. 

‘We can deploy technology to benefit our institutional selves or we can grab onto a more ethical and positive opportunity. We can agitate for the citizenry to be placed at the centre of any and all design and make the choice to side with ordinary people rather than the powerful.

'We can provide people in poverty a step ladder rather than require them to climb mountains and we can harness technology to open up rather than crackdown on people's rights,' said Bevan.

'This is not the pursuit of a utopia. Rather, it is simply a vision for a system that enables people real and meaningful access to their rights.’

Managing Director Bevan Warner

Victoria Legal Aid is an official supporter of the conference hosted by Victoria University Sir Zelman Cowen Centre Law and courts in an online world.

Read Bevan Warner's full presentation

Bevan Warner's presentation to the International Conference on Law and Courts in an Online World (docx, 144.46 KB)

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