Better access to justice with new resources

Australian Greens

Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury MLA, the Minister for Disability Emma Davidson MLA, and Legal Aid ACT’s Chief Executive Officer John Boersig today launched three new publications to provide better access to justice for both older Canberrans and people with disability in the ACT.

The 2021 Older Persons ACT Legal Service (OPALS) Diary aims to assist elderly Canberrans with information about legal issues they commonly face, while the Capacity Guidelines and Toolkit are new resources to help those advising and supporting people whose ability to make decisions is of concern.

Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said the publications support the Government’s aim of being a truly inclusive city.

“The 2021 Older Persons ACT Legal Service Diary is an innovative and accessible resource designed to help older people engage with legal issues impacting them,” Attorney-General Rattenbury said.

“The diary covers matters such as the rights of residents in retirement villages, tenancy rights, estate planning, scam awareness and practical measures for grandparents, such as school holiday dates.”

Legal Aid ACT’s Chief Executive Officer John Boersig said the Capacity Guidelines, which were commissioned by the Disability Justice Strategy, will assist legal practitioners.

“These new resources reflect our commitment to people understanding their rights and protecting the interests and dignity of those who require support to make decisions,” Dr Boersig said.

“The Capacity Guidelines offer legal practitioners a framework to assess capacity. The Toolkit is a practical resource for family and carers of people, including the elderly and adults with disability, who may need support to make decisions about legal and other matters.”

Minister for Disability Emma Davidson said the Capacity Guidelines and Toolkit will help the legal profession meet and understand the needs of people with disability as clients and service users.

“I am delighted Legal Aid ACT have delivered such high-quality resources to support better access to justice for both older Canberrans and people with a disability in the ACT,” Minister Davidson said.

“The resources advance the aims of the Disability Justice Strategy to achieve equity and inclusion for people with disability in the justice system.”

Council on the Ageing ACT Chief Executive Officer Jenny Mobbs welcomed the new resources.

“Navigating the legal system can be a daunting experience, but the Diary launched today will provide older members of our community with helpful advice they can use as a starting point,” Ms Mobbs said.

“The diary is a practical resource that is easy to understand and easy to access, and alongside the Capacity Guidelines and Toolkit, will help vulnerable people engage more effectively with legal issues facing them.”

The Legal Capacity Guidelines and Toolkit are available on the Legal Aid ACT website ( https://www.legalaidact.org.au/ ) and the Disability Justice Strategy website ( https://www.communityservices.act.gov.au/disability_act/disability-justice-strategy ).

Hard copies of the 2021 OPALS Diary and the Legal Capacity Guidelines and Toolkit are available through Legal Aid.

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