Disasters significantly reduce the accessibility of justice particularly in rural locations. The bushfires, which ravaged three states in the south-east of Australia in late 2019 and early 2020, have had catastrophic social and economic impacts on people, animals and places in rural areas. In the aftermath of disasters, people by necessity must inevitably avail themselves of legal advice and services: to negotiate new business contracts; re-mortgage property; access wills and testaments; attend court; and for a host of other matters. In rural communities, where access to legal services is already limited by distance and circumstance, disasters create increased demand, and access issues are accentuated. This chapter explores access to justice issues in post-disaster context and as they relate to rural, regional and remote communities. It draws upon post-disaster experiences nationally and internationally, outlining responses to improve access to legal services past and present, identifying effective responses. It argues that rurality creates additional barriers and reduces access to justice, and that disasters exacerbate existing access issues as well as creating new challenges.
Hale, R., Stewart-North, M. and Harkness, A. (2021), "Post-disaster Access to Justice", Harkness, A. and White, R. (Ed.) Crossroads of Rural Crime, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 167-179. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80043-644-220211012
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