Australia is presently seeking to streamline its civil justice system. It is popular folklore that the Australian civil justice system is inaccessible to ‘ordinary people’ as it is expensive, slow and complex. The reasons for these alleged failings are attributed to various causes, such as arcane and inefficient judicial practices, money-hungry lawyers or, more fundamentally, to the very underpinnings of civil litigation – adversarialism. This volume confronts this folklore.
It provides perspectives about civil justice from its major user and funding source (government) and the group of Australians who have used it the least and feel most alienated from the system (indigenous Australians). It explores the insights of those who work with adversarialism day in and day out (judges and lawyers) and reveals both defenders and strident advocates for change. Finally, it steps back and gives an outsider’s view of Australian adversarialism from those with knowledge of a sister system in the United States.