7 February 2018 – Volume 142


Photo of the Melbourne Magistrates' Court

Interim Bail Night Court funding for Victoria Legal Aid duty lawyer service

As a part of the Victorian Government’s $5.5 million funding announced on 22 January, we have been asked to provide a duty lawyer service at night in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

Read more about how we are expanding our services to the night court.

Sentencing Guidelines Council – an important way to build community confidence

We support the introduction of a Sentencing Guidelines Council to improve consistency and promote public confidence and understanding about the sentencing process.

Our submission about the design of the proposed council highlights the need to maintain judicial discretion and for a balanced range of community views to be represented.

Read our submission to the Sentencing Advisory Council.

Embracing pride and equality at Midsumma

Over the past few weeks we were proud to again participate in Melbourne's Midsumma festival, sharing information with the LGBTI community about our safe and inclusive legal services.

Visitors to our stall at the Midsumma Carnival learnt more about our Equality Law program, and how we can help if someone is experiencing discrimination, harassment or vilification. Our Managing Director Bevan Warner and other senior staff also joined our contingent braving the extreme heat to participate in this year's Pride March. 

We know that members of the LGBTI community can have multiple legal problems and face discrimination at many different times in their lives. Our Acting Program Manager Equality Aimee Cooper recently spoke to JoyFM about the way discrimination laws do and don't protect LGBTI people.

Child protection trial shows encouraging results

We have collaborated with two community legal centres to find new ways to help people with child protection legal problems. This pilot program has helped the CLCs develop important expertise, and left clients feeling valued and respected. 

Read more about the evaluation of the pilot program.

New law program bringing greater diversity

Our new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Graduate Law Program commenced at the end of January. It will help create greater representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the legal sector. Students will be exposed to legal practice and policy in a meaningful way, while complementing their studies.

Read more about the graduate law program.

Understand your legal options when faced with discrimination

In addition to our existing Discrimination, harassment and bullying topic, we have developed fact sheets to help people understand their legal options when faced with discrimination. These new fact sheets will complement the advice and casework assistance we provide to eligible clients, as well as guiding complainants who are unrepresented before VCAT. 

Read more about the new fact sheets.

People doing legal aid work

Executive Director Criminal Law Dan Nicholson

A new face for Criminal Law

Dan Nicholson will lead our Criminal Law division following the departure of Helen Fatouros in January this year.

Read more about Dan's tribute to Helen’s contribution and the challenges he's looking forward to taking on.  

Panel practitioner updates

Family Law Forum to offer practical advice

The next Family Law Forum on 23 February will offer practitioners the chance to broaden their skills and expertise in a range of areas that commonly present alongside a family law issue.

The forum will examine the financial impact of separation, tenancy and homelessness, family violence and mental health conditions, as well as providing a practical session on working with distressed clients.

These topics were identified in the 2015 Family Law Legal Aid Services Review as areas for additional training and the forum will give effect to two actions we committed to from this review.

The forum is open to private practitioners and CLC lawyers, but places are limited, so book now.

Federal Circuit Court of Australia ‘fast-tracking’ matters – callovers commence tomorrow

A reminder that Melbourne Registry Federal Circuit Court of Australia callovers are 8, 9 February and 13 March for matters listed for trial in April, May and June 2018. 

Read more about the callover timings and our fact sheet.

Sign up for Youth Crime Subset Training

On Monday 19 February, we will host a full-day training program for practitioners applying to be part of the Youth Crime Subset of the Section 29A Indictable and Summary Crime Panels.

Read more at Youth Crime Subset Training.

New streamlined process for Independent Children’s Lawyer grant requests

From 12 February, your Independent Children's Lawyer matters will be automatically processed as part of the simplified grants process.

Read more about how the new process will allow the majority of requests and claims to proceed quickly through the grants system

Sign up for Safe and Protected workshop

Presented by Women's Legal Service Victoria on 7, 14, 21 and 28 March, this interactive professional development event will identify strategies to respond to family violence and work towards best practice within the Children's Court of Victoria.

The workshop is designed for professionals working within the statutory child protection system.

Read more about how you can register for the program.

Summary Crime’s first quality audit a success, but not perfect

We conducted our first summary crime panel practitioner quality audit in 2017.

Read more about the audit.

Community news and notices

Call for Expressions of Interest for Victorian Legal Services Board grants

Expressions of Interest are now being sought for the Victorian Legal Services Board 2018 Grants Funding Round. The Grants Program was established in 2007 to distribute funding to projects that aim to improve the administration of laws, increase access to justice, improve legal services and inform and educate the wider community about legal services.

Applications for grants close Friday 2 March.

Read more at Victorian Legal Services Board Grants Program.

Free promotion for community events

Want to make sure your legal event for the community gets noticed? Let Everyday-Law know. They will list it on their events page and share it across social media for you.

Email Everyday-Law at or call (03) 9604 8166. Everyday-Law is a free, legal information website produced by Victoria Law Foundation.

Victorian Energy Compare website

The Victorian Energy Compare website is a useful tool for disadvantaged Victorians who are struggling with energy costs and assists users in finding a better offer from energy providers.

Read more at Victorian Energy Compare.

If you have any community news that you would like included in this eNewsletter email Items will be published at the editor's discretion.

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This eNewsletter is authorised by Victoria Legal Aid, 570 Bourke Street Melbourne 3000.

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