Courting justice beyond the cityscape: access to justice and the rural, regional and remote magistrates' courts

Bridget Harris, Lucinda Jordan, Lydia Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The lower courts in Australia are important spaces. These “people’s courts” handle the majority of civil and criminal matters and can profoundly shape perceptions, not only of the courts but of the criminal justice system at large. Lower courts play a key role in educating and guiding court workers and are places where innovative practices are pioneered and social change is pursued. Despite their significance there has been little review of the lower courts, even less of courts beyond the cityscape. In this article the authors explore the history, role and operations of lower courts in rural, regional and remote Australia to assess how the courts respond to the needs and diversity of different community groups and regions; they identify barriers to justice and signal emerging areas of research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-170
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Judicial Administration
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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