Productivity Commission draft report on access to justice

The Productivity Commission has released its draft report on access to justice in the civil jurisdiction, and will now seek public feedback. The PC provides advice to the Commonwealth on economic issues. The terms of reference for its inquiry focus on the financial and social costs of the justice system, and possible reforms to improve efficiency and accessibility. For example, “The report heavily criticises time-based billing by lawyers, ­arguing that it leads to over-­servicing, rewards inefficiency and lacks certainty for clients.” One of its more unusual proposals is for “a legal expenses loan scheme which would offer income-contingent interest-free loans to people who do not qualify for public legal assistance. The person would repay the loan through contributions of a proportion of their income, or from any award of damages.”