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Smith: Govt must back court reforms with money

Smith: Govt must back court reforms with money

A Government commitment to adequate funding would make or break the structural court reforms recommended by the Law Commission in its Delivering Justice for All report, United Future's justice spokesman, Murray Smith, said today.

"There are some very good changes mooted, particularly in light of the current situation which sees us with a court system that is expensive, complex and inefficient," Mr Smith said.

"However, it really will come down to the Government's commitment to backing such proposals - and successive governments in recent years have had a very poor track record when it comes to properly funding the structures that underpin our nation."

In taking up the Commission's report, Mr Smith pointed specifically to the proposed Community Courts, proposed to resolve all civil cases involving less than $50,000, within six months.

"This is a prime example of something worthwhile, but completely unachievable without a watertight Government commitment to make it happen.

"Very substantial resources are going to have to be provided without resorting to the 'user pays' principles that the Government has tended towards in the past," he said.

United Future believes that timely and affordable access to justice is vital to a healthy democracy and that there is really no alternative to spending the money that is necessary, Mr Smith said.

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