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What Do We Want…Justice!


Written by Amelia Strazdins

Democracy is built upon notions of justness and fairness. Living in Australia grants us a multitude of human rights and freedoms that others around the globe unfortunately may not be entitled to. These freedoms are protected by systems and processes that many of us are unaware of because they do not directly impact our daily lives.

One of the most important systems in Australia that assists in protecting our freedoms and in ensuring justice is our legal system, which is built around ensuring just and fair outcomes.

International Justice Day is recognised on July 17 as a global acknowledgement of the importance of both international and domestic justice systems. The premise of the event is to assist in promoting the rights of those who have been wronged by these systems and to promote the importance of ensuring justice systems remain just and equitable to all.

While many of us recognise the importance of our legal processes, it would be ignorant to believe it is capable of operating on its own and to believe that it is without its flaws. Courts and lawyers, the words go hand-in-hand, maintaining our legal systems require more people than many of us believe. Our courts operate on many levels both locally and federally and require members from all over the community to ensure it remains functioning.

Take our local community, for example. There are so many important groups and members that help to ensure our systems run smoothly. From our local police who play an important role at the start of the process to politicians who advocate for important issues, to family and child services who play a vital role in ensuring safety and protection. After these community members have done their jobs, it than falls upon lawyers and those assisting to help ensure that justice prevails. Therefore for us in the community, when we think about what we can do to help others access justice, we cannot just think about the courts, we must think beyond.

There are many non-profits, charities and organisations which assist in promoting and helping individuals get access to the representation and assistance they need to get their justice and support. Unfortunately, even in 2023 there are still people who are unable to gain access to proper representation, are not represented or judged in an unbiased manner and do not receive the just and fair trials promised by our system.

Court is an expense that many cannot afford. If an individual is unable to pay for a lawyer, this individual is often represented by lawyers through legal-aid or non-profit organisations. These organisations are a key step in ensuring proper representation, however they remain under-funded and in need of community support.

It is important that we take the time this month to not only consider how lucky we are to have the freedoms we do, but also what we can do to help others. Whether it be donating to a legal-aid charity or educating yourself more on issues of bias and the inability to access justice, every action plays an important role.

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