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The Roles Of Various Enforcement Agencies, Discussing The Limitations Of Legal Aid And Evaluating The Usefulness Of Alternatives To The Court System In Resolving Disputes.

1304 words - 5 pages

In using the prescribed text book "Legal Studies Preliminary" written by Hamper Boesenberg Kenny and many other sources I have gained sound knowledge in the roles of various enforcement agencies, discussed the limitations of legal aid and evaluated the usefulness of alternatives to the court system in resolving disputes.Enforcement agencies are bodies that have the role of enforcing certain laws. Acts of parliament have created the agencies and include bodies such as government departments and police.The main roles of police are to; prevent crime, investigate crime and arrest the perpetrators of crimes. The Australian federal police also enforce criminal law where crimes cross state boundaries, or are in breech of federal law. The police are principally concerned with enforcing criminal law. They have the power to arrest any person who they suspect of committing or having committed a crime. They cannot however arrest a person simply to question them.Some commonwealth and state government departments have powers to enforce specific laws for example; under the income tax assessment act 1936 (cwlth), the Australian tax office has the power to investigate and prosecute matters in relation to taxation. Other agencies such as the environmental protection agency have enforcement powers. For example, the EPA can issue fines and prosecute businesses and individuals for an illegal polluting and other environmental crimes. Other organizations such as wildlife service, national parks and fishery department also enforce environmental laws.Under the Australian legal system a person does not automatically have the right to a lawyer. Though, there is widespread recognition that in a criminal trial a person without legal representation is unlikely to receive a fair trial. To try and overcome this problem, legal aid has been established. The New South Wales legal aid commission provides advice and representation to people who cannot afford their own lawyer. The legal aid commission provides basic legal advice in which the first 15 minutes is available free of charge to any individual. Before a person can be represented by the legal aid commission they must: Have a reasonable chance of winning the case, this is known as the merit test, the merit test applies to civil cases and criminal appeals. The person must have a criminal or family law matters (though matters such as discrimination and civil liberties may be accepted.) The individual must also pass the mean test to Asses whether the person can really afford to pay for there own legal representation. In N.S.W all children are entitled to legal aid assistance without a merit or means test.Some limitations of legal aid are: it does not reach all the needy people. Many people feel that the mean test is too low. In June 1998 the senate legal and constitutional references committee released its report into the legal aid system across Australia. This report recognized that many people who do not meet the means test...

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