Access to justice

10.13   The Terms of Reference ask the ALRC to consider whether any barriers are imposed by the Native Title Act’s authorisation provisions to claimants’, potential claimants’ and respondents’ access to justice. Access to justice includes access to courts and lawyers, but also information and support to identify, prevent and resolve disputes.[6] It can encompass both procedural rights and access to the resources necessary to participate fully in the legal system. It may also include the removal of structural inequalities within the justice system and the provision of informal justice and alternative dispute resolution options.[7]

10.14   The Inquiry has not identified widespread concern about barriers to justice imposed by the authorisation provisions, but has identified areas where amendment of the provisions may reduce disputes, confirm the ultimate authority of the claim group and reduce the cost of a native title application.