"There is no crueller tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and
in the name of justice."
Charles de Montesquieu,
Welcome to The Australian Justice Tribunal [ABN: 53 150 698 516]. We are a Public Benevolent Institution and one of the original Charities to be transferred from the Australian Taxation Office to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) on 3 December 2012.
AUSTRALIA-WIDE LICENSING PROGRAM
It is with great enthusiasm that I support our Australia-wide licensing program. This program will see Australian Law Firms and Accounting Practices being licensed to represent and promote the interests of The Australian Justice Tribunal which also means representing the interests of the 200,000 financially distressed Australians who are currently not receiving pro bono legal representation.
As it is, The Australian Justice Tribunal (The AJT) and its contemporaries along with responsible Law Firms and Legal Aid have been able to provide pro bono legal services to approximately 300,000 Australians annually.
But now, by eventually licensing many (if not all) of the 16,000 Law Firms and 12,000 Accounting Practices in Australia to act as Licensees of The AJT; that is, granting them a Licence to raise unlimited tax deductible donations under our charitable endorsements, we see the day when no Australian will suffer from the helplessness and trauma that too often creates irreparable damage to innocent lives.
And it has long been recognised that far too many Australians each year are lost to suicide solely because of the denial of justice spawned by their inability to afford legal representation.
Fee-based pro bono legal services
The primary purpose of the Licence is to firstly grant each Law Firm (as a Licensee) the right to fund, through 100% tax deductible donations, the cost of providing pro bono legal services to their financially distressed clients and members of the public.
And to reinforce the power of our licensing program Australia-wide, each Accounting Practice (as a Licensee) will also have the right to raise tax deductible donations for the purpose of covering the cost of introducing and maintaining (including funding as a third party funder) the legal representation also needed by their own financially distressed clients and others.
The term, "A Practising Member of The Australian Justice Tribunal" may be used by every Licensee.
Board AppointmentsDuring the initial stages of implementing our licensing program we will be appointing up to five Australian practising solicitors and three practising accountants to the Board of The Australian Justice Tribunal.
Reinforcing our Objectives
After almost eight years of Australians being assisted by our Voluntary Case Assessors we have now withdrawn their services from Victoria, Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory; and are winding down our services in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.
By replacing Voluntary Case Assessors with multiple Licensees, both legal and accounting, their unrestricted access to all Australians requiring pro bono legal services will multiply the effectiveness of our Objectives manyfold.
This website will shortly be tailored to accommodate the activities of our Licensees. However, it will be at the discretion and direction of our Licensees as to whether or not they wish to use this site as a means of promoting their pro bono (humanitarian) services.
TRIBUNALI now need to define the word "Tribunal" as applied to our Oganisation.
A tribunal is most commonly defined, in essence, as 'a Court of Justice' which makes legally binding decisions on matters brought before it. Our Tribunal does not do that. We confine ourselves to the more general dictionary meaning which refers to 'an adjudicative body' or 'a body that decides or determines', be it a Board, Committee or sole adjudicator.
And certainly our Board, Committees, and now Licensees are called upon to decide ... to adjudicate; that is, 'act as a judge' when determining which matters qualify for our pro bono legal support, or when considering which determinations will best provide that support. These decision-making processes are ongoing throughout the duration of advising clients and ensuring that through our support the accuracy of our determinations will be integral, indeed vital, to delivering the justice that was formerly denied. None of which duplicates the legally binding function of a Court of Justice; but the conduct of a tribunal, nonetheless. I'll now move on.
DELIVERING NATURAL JUSTICE
And there is nothing dramatic about my words. I have witnessed the debilitating effects of denial of Natural Justice. The financial ruin and hopelessness often extends to families being torn apart and premature deaths.
Our primary objective is to get there before 'post traumatic stress disorder' takes hold, causing such irreparable damage. And if we can't get there first then the second part of our role is to salvage what little hope remains and strengthen it with the Natural Justice formerly denied.
Again, this is not a dramatic portrayal of a severe endemic problem which has endured throughout the history of our nation; a problem that responsible Law firms have been addressing for years through the offering of pro bono legal assistance, and will now continue to address with even greater impact as Licensees of The Australian Justice Tribunal (The AJT).
The National Constitution of The AJT will give you a clear understanding of the structure, powers and purpose of the Organisation and its Councils of Review.
And although the evolution, structure and purpose of The AJT are fully described in our National Constitution, here are just two of The AJT's Objectives taken from that Constitution:3.1 Pro Bono Legal Representation
The primary objective of the Company is to provide Pro Bono legal assistance to Australians who are victims of injustice or who are being denied Natural Justice causing sickness, suffering, distress, misfortune or helplessness.AND
In general, Complainants seeking legal assistance will have exhausted avenues of competent legal redress and will be incapable of affording legal representation either protracted, or in many instances, otherwise.
3.4 Established Pro Bono Services
The Company wil act vigorously to ensure that it fosters a working relationship with all law firms and advocates; many already known to have an established reputation within Australia for their offering of Pro Bono legal services. This working relationship can and must be fostered for the betterment of all Australians needing Pro Bono legal assistance of the highest standard.
It is our greatest hope that Licensees (both legal and accounting) Australia-wide will ensure, in time, that not one financially distressed Australian will ever be denied pro bono legal representation, nor the natural justice that we trust will flow from it.
My Sincere Regards,
The Australian Justice Tribunal