The Grata Fund has recently published a report called Australian Courts: How a global pandemic built our launchpad to the future.
Australian courts adapting to social distancing restrictions have been forced into various stages of closure and adoption of new technologies. While these changes have created some issues for proceedings, it has also seen technological adaptations that, without a pandemic could have taken years, heralding new possibilities for access to justice, as well as some risks.
The report covers all of these issues and includes recommendations for how technological improvements can be maintained and risks with access to justice and open justice mitigated.
The report also covers:
- The rapid and unprecedented shift to online operations by courts and tribunals across all jurisdictions in Australia including online filing, online registries, document management, communication, increased use of audio-visual links.
- How virtual hearings are working in practice and the need to entrench the digital progress made by the courts after the crisis passes.
- Risks and benefits of digital access to justice for marginalised groups such as First Nations People, people with disability and people from a culturally and linguistically diverse background and what needs to be done to facilitate access to justice in a digital world.
- The principle of open justice in Australia, how online justice threatens this through the exclusion of the public and the press from physical courtrooms. The report looks at how the Courts can maintain open justice while operating online, and how technology may be used to increase open justice, making courtrooms more available so we can witness justice being done.
- Challenges posed by the transition to online courts to procedural fairness and how it can be maintained in court processes. We also discuss how the pandemic is compounding pre-existing delays in the justice system, with many courts adjourning matters.
The report is available for download here.Back to all