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Postcode justice: Rural and regional disadvantage in the administration of the law

  • Year: 2011
  • Author: Coverdale, Richard
  • Journal Name: Deakin Law Review
  • Journal Number: Vol. 16, No. 1
  • Country: Australia
  • State/Region: Victoria

The paper signposts a number of issues identified within the research project: Postcode Justice - Rural and Regional Disadvantage in the Administration of the Law. It highlights key areas in which regional Victorians experience disadvantage in access to justice system services in comparison to their metropolitan counterparts. Issues raised by interviewees and survey participants demonstrate inherent problems with the current delivery of justice system services, programs and processes in regional Victoria. Briefly explored within the paper is the relationship of 'distance' to the delivery of justice. The paper suggests that little consideration is given to the spatial disadvantage experienced by regional communities in the development of legislation or the implementation of justice system programs, practices and procedures. The paper also examines the Magistrates' Court criminal court programs which embrace the principles of 'problem solving courts' and 'therapeutic jurisprudence'. While they are important innovations, these programs have had limited roll-out to regional communities. In its conclusion the paper suggests that an independent and unified 'voice' is needed to ensure a genuine and informed response to the diverse areas in which inequity exists in the delivery of justice system services to regional communities.

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