The Supreme Court of Victoria has recognised the need for change in its Rules in regard to litigation guardians for people with a disability.

Specifically, the amendment to the Rules provides that a litigation guardian will not be personally liable for costs awarded against a person under disability unless the Court, for special reason, otherwise orders.

Up to now, there has been a reluctance of people to act as litigation guardians due to the costs liability, which has in turn limited persons under disability from taking Supreme Court proceedings.

Russell Kennedy Associate Emma Fitzgibbon was part of the working group for this project, which followed on from the efforts of Russell Kennedy in supporting Justice Connect to publish the Discussion Paper which outlined the need for change – and has ultimately led to the amended Rules. In regard to the change, Emma says, “This is a really positive step in Victoria for ensuring access to justice for all citizens and in particular supporting people with diminished decision making capacity”.

The Discussion Paper made a number of other recommendations which are still the subject of review.