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Problem with lawyer civil legal service pricing, says Chief Justice

05 February 2020

The legal profession has priced itself out of providing civil legal services to middle and lower income people, Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann has said.

In an interview with the Sunday Star-Times, Dame Helen says civil legal aid is in need of a funding boost.

"The legal profession has failed to innovate to make itself available to people. I think it's a failure of the market," she says in the article by Rob Stock which is headlined "'No silver bullet' for fairer access to civil justice, says chief justice".

"If it's not the legal profession who innovate, they may find themselves losing their exclusive rights of audience in the court," she says.

"I think that's an existential challenge to the profession and they need to start coming up with models that meet these needs."

Dame Helen does not favour the idea of online courts as a means of assisting access to civil justice. She says that could result in loss of some of the human, and public, aspects of justice the courts deliver.

Last updated on the 5th February 2020