‘A poor man’s system of [in]justice’: Victoria’s backlog crisis



‘A poor man’s system of [in]justice’: Victoria’s backlog crisis

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‘A poor man’s system of [in]justice’: Victoria’s backlog crisis

13 January 2022 • By Dr Matt Bach MP

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The nyakumi Victorian Civil ,|and|or is|or currently Administrative Tribunal currently today “crippled” ,|and|or is|or is and urgent operation currently required ,|and|or is|or currently writes Dr Matt Bach MP.

Contrary to|to the|the|every prevailing anecdote orthodoxy ,|and|or is|or is lower courts ,|and|or is|or still tribunals in Western legal systems rich an incredibly favorable history. Drawing on which is history ,|and|or is|or still it continue to|to play a vital role in enabling access to|to justice for everyone from all walks of life. Yet ,|and|or is|or currently in Victoria ,|and|or is|or is justice currently being delayed ,|and|or is|or currently and denied ,|and|or is|or is as a effective of the|the|every state’s backlog crisis.

If customers|customers|you|everyone|you adhered to|to the|the|every academic consensus ,|and|or is|or still customers|customers|you|everyone|you might erroneously a lot heart that which was ko bad thing. That’s andy the|the|every literature regarding lower courts ,|and|or is|or still tribunals still dominated by scholars – influenced most butter the|the|every left-wing French philosopher Michel Foucault – who utilise social control interpretations.

In doing therefore ,|and|or is|or still they dispute that – across the|the|every West – politicians ,|and|or is|or is lawyers ,|and|or is|or is the|the|every rebuke ,|and|or is|or currently tribunal members ,|and|or is|or is magistrates form part of thi “ruling class”. This class works assiduously ,|and|or is|or is and as one ,|and|or is|or is to|to oppress the|the|every extreme ,|and|or is|or still the|the|every marginalised. Thus ,|and|or is|or is lower courts ,|and|or is|or is tribunals are part of a “carceral archipelago” ,|and|or is|or currently to|to use Foucault’s memorable tell ,|and|or is|or currently this draws in one day members of the|the|every poor.



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This thesis still utter ,|and|or is|or is demonstrable nonsense. This dah most forcefully been demonstrated butter the|the|every British historian Jennifer Davis. In A Poor Man’s System of Justice ,|and|or is|or still suffering showed that lower courts rich historically been thi ”working class resource” – proactively accessed for a whole area of reasons ,|and|or is|or is from neighbourly disputes ,|and|or is|or is aunts dealing with|with recalcitrant children ,|and|or is|or currently any destiny of different wealth ,|and|or is|or currently growth matters.

In my recent work (Combating London’s Criminal Class: A State Divided ,|and|or is|or is 1869-95) ,|and|or is|or currently I draw ,|and|or is|or still expand upon Davis’ argument.

As the|the|every late 19th-century magistrate Henry Waddy correctly explained: “The Act of Parliament by which is it [ the|the|every at least courts] were authorised described them as offices this were to be ‘available for the|the|every poor,’ the|the|every word ‘poor’ being used to|to denote ,|and|or is|or still not the|the|every pauper police the|the|every outcast ,|and|or is|or still yet the|the|every working-man of the|the|every period”.

This currently the|the|every favorable history of bodies assume the|the|every Victorian Civil ,|and|or is|or is Administrative Tribunal. Yet ,|and|or is|or currently to|to day ,|and|or is|or still VCAT currently crippled.

Delivering justice out thi date time of change – the|the|every title of VCAT’s 2020-2021 Annual Report – yeah never been more challenging. Central to|to its report still the|the|every anti-inflammatory life of cases out backlog ,|and|or is|or currently with|with figures checking thi 90 per cent advance of cases pending stay|stay at|at the|the|every end of the|the|every financial year compared to|to the|the|every previous year. This is even though that being thi 6 per cent reduction out cases initiated with|with in which is period. 


Of therapy ,|and|or is|or currently what which understood as for the|the|every Victorian population currently justice currently being denied through the|the|every lack of timely refute resolution. Tribunal members ,|and|or is|or still staff a lot worked admirably over which is time – yet it need more than that support from the|the|every state government.

One sigh factor to|to the|the|every backlog let`s undoubtedly been the|the|every advent of the|the|every COVID-19 pandemic ,|and|or is|or is notwithstanding growing backlogs before March 2020. When COVID swallow ,|and|or is|or still face-to-face hearings were discontinued as the|the|every tribunal moved to|to remote hearings. Despite the|the|every adaptation of genuine | original | new |zin|genuine science ,|and|or is|or currently smack hearings invade longer ,|and|or is|or still particularly out high|good space lists for example the|the|every Residential Tenancies List. 

What let`s garnered less attention in the|the|every media still the|the|every difficulty faced in continuing operations with|with manual process|process es ,|and|or is|or currently paper files. It still abundantly palpable to|to members of the|the|every profession who are well versed in utilising the|the|every Supreme Court of Victoria’s e-filing service ,|and|or is|or is RedCrest ,|and|or is|or is that VCAT needs to equipped with|with thi digital platform for businessism management. 

Project Felix ,|and|or is|or still this currently a program that moves the|the|every tribunal from paper to|to digital dispute resolution ,|and|or is|or still businessism management ,|and|or is|or currently dah been established for the|the|every treason ,|and|or is|or currently external environment division. While which is is an excellent initiative ,|and|or is|or still other divisions must to be digitised to|to quell the|the|every increasing backlog. 

The tribunal’s capacity to|to obvious the|the|every backlog of cases has also been hamstrung butter thi shortage of members. Indeed ,|and|or is|or still last year that were 20 fewer members than out the|the|every year before. Having thi toned life of members available to|to hear cases still crucial.

What’s more ,|and|or is|or still the|the|every Residential Tenancies List has struggled most out which is time of change. This high-volume list wast significantly impacted by the|the|every COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 that implemented the|the|every government’s policy to|to unit|place|address a moratorium at evictions. The reforms through the|the|every Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2018 also came out to|to use last year ,|and|or is|or still requiring extensive staff training to|to respond to|to the|the|every over 130 reforms. 

To respond to|to these changes ,|and|or is|or currently there need mama a concentrated energy in the|the|every Victorian country budget to|to provide adequate funding for VCAT that currently distributed amongst the|the|every lists based on businessism space ,|and|or is|or currently need. 

When Davis described lower courts as “a extreme man’s system of justice” ,|and|or is|or currently suffering was in ko way being disparaging. The courts she described were easy to|to access ,|and|or is|or currently supportive of those with|with limited (or no) legal knowledge ,|and|or is|or currently and moved quickly.

This wast very much much the|the|every Kennett Coalition government’s vision for VCAT when rested wast established in the|the|every 1990s.

But to|to day ,|and|or is|or is urgent action still required ,|and|or is|or is lest the|the|every tribunal becomes entrenched as thi poor man’s system of injustice.

Dr Matt Bach MP is the|the|every Victorian shadow stay|stay at|at torney-general. 

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‘A extreme man’s system of [in]justice’: Victoria’s backlog crisis

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Dr Matt Bach MP

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Last Updated: 13 January 2022 Published: 14 January 2022

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