25 September 2013 – Volume 42


Duty lawyer breaks court cycle to keep a pensioner from jail 

A duty lawyer has broken a cycle of unpaid fines and unmet commitments with a fresh approach to a case that has been dogging a pensioner in the courts for more than 12 years. 

Read more

Yarra Ranges to benefit from funding boost for legal services

Victoria Legal Aid has announced a grant of $70,000 for the Eastern Community Legal Centre to help establish a service in Healesville that will provide better access to free legal support for isolated communities.

Read more

Roadshows address confusion about discrimination law

Victoria Legal Aid is taking a special roadshow across the state to share its expertise in discrimination law.

Read more

VLA people

We welcome Cameron Hume, our new Director Research and Communications 

Incoming Director Research and Communications Cameron Hume will bring a wealth of research and evaluation experience to Victoria Legal Aid when he begins his new role in October. Read more at We welcome Cameron Hume, our new Director Research and Communications.

Panel practitioner updates

Annual indexation of legal aid fees

Private practitioner fees will increase by 1.4 per cent from 1 January 2014. Read more at Annual indexation of legal aid fees.

Changes to ATLAS deliver direct payment to barristers

Changes to ATLAS – Victoria Legal Aid's system to lodge and track legal aid applications, extensions and invoices – will enable us to pay barristers directly. Read more at Changes to ATLAS deliver direct payment to barristers.

Family law trials and final hearings guidelines change

New guidelines for legal representation at family law final hearings will come into effect on 1 November this year. Read more at Family law trials and final hearings guidelines change.

New film helps self-represented litigants in County Court

Self-represented litigants who wish to launch civil proceedings in the County Court of Victoria can do so with the help of a recently released short film that guides them through each step of a civil proceeding. Read more at New film helps self-represented litigants in County Court.

Indictable Crime Panel now open

Pursuant to section 29A of the Legal Aid Act (Vic) 1978, Victoria Legal Aid intends to appoint a new Indictable Crime Panel. Read more at Indictable Crime Panel now open.

Community news

Seeking submissions to Access to Justice Arrangements Inquiry

The Australian Government has asked the Productivity Commission to undertake a 15-month inquiry into Australia's system of civil dispute resolution, with a focus on constraining costs and promoting access.

The Access to Justice Arrangements Inquiry has released an issues paper and is seeking submissions by Monday 4 November.

See Access to Justice Arrangements.

Lock up a lawyer – Saturday 12 October

Presented by Melbourne City Mission, Lock up a lawyer gives you the chance to sleep in the cells at Pentridge Prison's infamous D Division Remand Centre that previously housed some of Melbourne's most notorious criminals. All money raised will go to Youthlaw and Mates for inmates.

For more information see Lock up a lawyer.

New foundation targets lawyers' mental health

The Wellbeing and the Law Foundation aims to raise money to build awareness, fund research and develop strategies to improve mental health in the legal profession.

For more information and to make a donation see The Wellbeing and The Law Foundation.

New contacts for Assignments Unit

Victoria Legal Aid's Assignments Unit has reorganised into three teams to make it clearer who clients and practitioners should contact when enquiring about a grant of legal assistance.

The new teams are: Assignments Criminal Law, Assignments Family Law and Assignments Civil Law.

Visit contacts for grants for more details.

Order free publications

We have a range of free resources to help people with their legal problems which can be ordered or downloaded from our catalogue.

Register for ATLAS training

Training is available to help practitioners to effectively use ATLAS to lodge and track legal aid applications, extensions and invoices.

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.

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