Govt will cap abuse payouts: lawyers

The Australian Lawyers Alliance will ask the royal commission to keep a redress scheme for child sex abuse victims out of the hands of government.

The national inquiry into child sexual abuse will be asked not to allow the federal government to run a victims' redress scheme because it is likely to keep payouts artificially low.

The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) will meet in private with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Melbourne on Friday.

The meeting is part of a week of special roundtable discussions the commission is holding to discuss a redress scheme for abuse victims.

ALA spokesman Andrew Morrison SC said the alliance had no problem with a redress scheme, but "we do have major problems with it being controlled by the very bodies which are responsible for making the payments".

"I would not trust any abusive organisation to run a redress scheme, because they will run it in their interests, not in the interests of victims," he told AAP on Thursday.

In its submission to the commission in July, the Truth Justice and Healing Council representing the Catholic Church proposed a mandatory redress scheme run by the government to which offending organisations could contribute.

Dr Morrison said the Catholic Church was proposing a government-run scheme because "a large part of the offending bodies are government and constraints on government expenditure mean that the government will impose very low caps as they have done on victims' compensation".

He also said bitter experience had been that "the Roman Catholic Church particularly with some orders, the Salvation Army and the Anglican Church put artificially low caps and try to evade their responsibility."

"A redress scheme is fine, but it must be in the context of people having the right to go to common law if they are not happy with what the church is proposing."

He also said evidence from the Catholic archdioceses of Sydney and Melbourne was that they could afford to pay full common law damages, yet they were hoping "to get out of this for a pittance by riding on the back of very limited government liability which will form part of any scheme that is national."

The ALA wants an independent judicial body to run the scheme.

Dr Morrison also said that while a national redress scheme had many advantages, any discussion of adequate redress must first start "with a revision of our legal foundations and their repairable flaws".

The co-operation of state, territory and federal governments was needed to bring this about and to provide certainty.

What the ALA was proposing would include changes to the relevant limitations acts, civil liability legislation and legislation governing the assets of the Catholic Church, he said.

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