Productivity Commission - Access to Justice Arrangements Inquiry

The Australian Government has asked the Productivity Commission to undertake a 15-month inquiry into Australia’s system of civil dispute resolution, with a focus on constraining costs and promoting access to justice and equality before the law.

As WLSA is a national network of community legal centres specialising in women's legal issues, our submission to the Inquiry focused on the difficulties women face in accessing justice.

The submission highlights systemic issues, gender bias and the impact of any reduction in funding for legal aid services including women's legal services has on women, particularly in family law matters.

Where an unmet legal need and a denial of justice exists, it has a broad economic cost.

The consequences of a failure to access justice for women and their children can include:

  • financial hardship and poverty,
  • homelessness,
  • heightened risk of violence and or death, and
  • diminished emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.

WLSA believes that:

  • the correct utilisation of preventative strategies at an early stage,
  • understanding and identifying the correct issues in dispute and the drivers of the dispute, particularly in relation to family violence and the underlying dynamics of power and control,
  • matching dispute resolution processes to the nature of the dispute,
  • increased legal aid funding, and
  • targeted legal aid decision making

will result in a more streamlined and efficient system of justice where better decisions are made.

For more information you can download our submission and/or visit the Productivity Commission website.





Download Resources

Below is a list of supporting documents for this submission.

DescriptionDownload file
WLSA submission to the Productivity Commission Access to Justice Arrangements Inquiry (,


website url
Productivity Commission website including submissions to the Inquiry