The Productivity Commission is currently reviewing Australians’ access to justice.
One proposal is the introduction of legal aid vouchers, where those who were eligible would receive government vouchers to spend on getting legal advice from private practising lawyers. The proposal was put forward in response to claims that access to the legal system is unaffordable for most and to reduce the strain on government-funded legal assistance bodies.
Critics of the proposal say that as lawyers will be unable to operate a profitable private practice on the rates paid by the vouchers, there will therefore be reduced choice for those seeking legal help, as lawyers opt out of the system. It will also prevent legal and non-legal services from collaborating to assist clients in a more holistic fashion.