8 May 2013 – Volume 32


lawyers in silks and wigs

Victoria Legal Aid to introduce more flexibility for criminal trial funding

Victoria Legal Aid has introduced an interim eligibility guideline which will allow for a second lawyer during a criminal trial. Introduced in response to a Victorian Court of Appeal decision, the interim guideline will allow all legally aided trials to proceed while we consult with the courts and profession about the longer term funding of trials. Having to direct more funding to jury trials means we have less money for other vulnerable clients and services and is ultimately unsustainable. 
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Victoria Legal Aid welcomes State Budget

Additional funding provided in the 2012–13 State Budget allows us to continue services at the level set by the introduction of our new eligibility and service guidelines over the past year.
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Legal aid addressing local challenges in Barwon region

Our Board recently met in Geelong to learn more about local legal needs and how our Geelong office and stakeholders are responding to some of the challenges the Barwon region is facing in helping people from some of the most disadvantaged areas in the state.
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Helping children deal with difficult life issues is all in a days' work for an independent children's lawyer 

Representing children requires great sensitivity in the complex arena of family law. Independent Children's Lawyer Christal Augustin recently helped a family reach a compromise that supported a child's wishes, while leaving the door open for future contact with her father.
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Panel practitioner updates

Update on Panels Project

We are reviewing how our private practitioner panels operate to ensure quality legal aid services continue to be delivered to clients.

Recent focus group discussions with lawyers in private practice have considered the entry requirements and related processes for the new Indictable Crime Panel and the new Independent Children's Lawyer Panel.

Final consultations with the Law Institute of Victoria are underway and will conclude this month. Following this, we will pilot the new processes with these two panels, which are scheduled to open between July and September 2013.

For more information contact Quality Project Manager Anne-Dorte Dev Burman on (03) 9269 0474 or at annedorte.burman@vla.vic.gov.au or visit the Panels page.

Vulnerable clients remain a priority

Our eligibility guidelines ensure that people with a psychiatric or intellectual disability or an acquired brain injury continue to be prioritised for intensive legal services. Read more about how our vulnerable clients remain a priority.

Community news

The Tough Questions on Sentencing – Monday 13 May

Sentencing Advisory Council Chair Professor Arie Freiberg will face tough questions on sentencing at a Council forum with fellow Sentencing Advisory Council member, Geoff Wilkinson OAM. For more information see The Tough Questions on Sentencing.

Forced Labour and Human Trafficking: the Criminalisation of Labour Exploitation – Friday 17 May

Presented by the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, this public lecture will feature Anti-Slavery Australia Director Jennifer Burn and internationally renowned scholar Professor Susan Kneebone talking about Australia's response to trafficking and slavery. For more information see Forced Labour and Human Trafficking: the Criminalisation of Labour Exploitation.
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Visit VLA's new website

Our new website features great resources and tools for people with a legal problem, workers supporting them and lawyers doing legal aid work.
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Sex, young people and the law

Find out about our education program helping young people understand their legal rights and responsibilities about sex and relationships.
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Call Legal Help

For free information about the law and how we can help call (03) 9269 0120 or 1800 677 402 (country callers), Monday to Friday, 8.45 am to 5.15 pm.

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

This eNewsletter is authorised by Victoria Legal Aid. Read more editions of Legal Aid Brief

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