2.43 The law should provide a range of means to prevent, reduce or redress serious invasions of privacy. Recommendations in this Report aim to facilitate access to justice for individuals affected by serious invasions of privacy. For the Women’s Legal Services NSW, access to justice means that
it must be fair, simple, affordable and easy to understand and navigate. It must also have pathways for early intervention to prevent further disadvantage.
2.44 Many stakeholders submitted that any statutory cause of action or other remedy for serious invasions of privacy should be accessible to people with limited means as well as to those who can more easily afford the high costs of litigation. The law should make appropriate provision for people with disability or others who require assistance in obtaining access to justice. The Terms of Reference for the ALRC’s Inquiry into Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws—being conducted at the same time as this Inquiry—refer to ensuring that Commonwealth laws and legal frameworks are responsive to the needs of people with disability and to advance, promote and respect their rights, in the area of access to justice and legal assistance program.
2.45 The Productivity Commission has stated that a ‘well functioning justice system’:
means delivering fair and equitable outcomes as efficiently as possible and resolving disputes early, expeditiously and at the most appropriate level. A justice system which effectively excludes a sizable portion of society from adequate redress risks considerable economic and social costs.
2.46 In Chapter 16, the ALRC recommends that the Privacy Commissioner be empowered to hear complaints about serious invasions of privacy. This may be one way of increasing access to justice. Other recommendations also encourage, without compelling, people to pursue alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
Women’s Legal Services NSW, Submission 57.
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, Submission 66; Australian Communications and Media Authority, Submission 52; Women’s Legal Service Victoria and Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria, Submission 48; Optus, Submission 41; Australian Bureau of Statistics, Submission 32; Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Submission 30; CV Check, Submission 23; Law Institute of Victoria, Submission 22; Office of the Information Commissioner, Queensland, Submission 20.
Office of the Public Advocate (Queensland), Submission 12. Representative actions are discussed in Ch 10.
Australian Law Reform Commission, Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws, Discussion Paper 81 (2014).
‘Access to Justice Arrangements’ (Draft Report, Productivity Commission, 2014) v.
Several stakeholders supported voluntary alternative dispute resolution under the new privacy tort: SBS, Submission 59; Women’s Legal Services NSW, Submission 57; Women’s Legal Service Victoria and Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria, Submission 48; Electronic Frontiers Australia, Submission 44; Australian Privacy Foundation, Submission 39; Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Submission 30; B Arnold, Submission 28; C Jansz-Richardson, Submission 24; T Gardner, Submission 3.