Putting the Public in Public Interest | Breakout: In Search of Solutions, not Sanctions: A Look at How Australia Applies Restorative Justice Principles to Legal Regulation
Consumers should expect that legal regulation will take a flexible and proactive approach in identifying and dealing with the core issue behind complaints of inadequate or poor service. Regulators should have access to methodologies which engage problem solving, mediation and the informal resolution of complaints and that have the capacity to re-build the relationship between consumer and practitioner. These same principles can also be found in Restorative Justice techniques, which are commonly used in some jurisdictions in relation to criminal matters.
The objective of legal regulator complaint handling is to try and resolve the dispute in such a way as to assist the parties to understand each other’s perspective and for both to learn something useful as a result of engaging in mediation. Can the principles of restorative justice be applied to legal regulation? Are elements of this approach “hiding in plain sight” in existing regulatory frameworks, or is specific enabling legislation required? What are the risks of such an approach and what are the benefits? The panel will:
- Discuss restorative approaches, including exploring the principles of restorative justice
- Examine the experience of one legal regulator over 10 years of exploring more restorative ways of responding to consumer complaints
- Consider how these principles can be applied to legal regulation and consumer complaint handling, including the skills and processes that are needed to support this approach.
- Moderator – Fiona McLeay – Victorian Legal Services Commissioner (Australia)
- Tina Stagliano, Director Enquiries and Complaints, Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner (Australia)
- Stan Winford, Associate Director of Research, Innovation and Reform, Centre for Innovative Justice, RMIT University (Australia)