Submission: Ensuring Access to Justice for Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era

It is our position that a statutory cause of action for serious invasions of privacy is a necessary and overdue legislative reform that enhances and protects an individual's right to privacy in the 21st century.

Our main concern is that the proposed statutory scheme should ensure that all individuals within society are given a realistic opportunity to protect their legislative rights. Although a statutory tort provides a mechanism to protect an individual's right to privacy (or remedy a breach of that right), that mechanism must be easily accessible if it is to fulfill its stated objectives. Accordingly, whilst it is proposed that federal, state and territory courts be given jurisdiction to hear an action for serious invasion of privacy under the new Act, it is important to keep in mind that the high cost of commencing litigation may result only in certain classes of people having the means to protect their privacy rights. It is therefore submitted that any statutory mechanism should contain safeguards that ensure all individuals are able to access the available mechanisms necessary to enforce their statutory rights.