LawRight Newsletter - March 2023

LawRight News, March 2023

Queensland Legal Walk – 16 May 2023

Mark your calendars for this annual celebration of your pro bono contribution.  We look forward to sharing more details of how to walk + give to support LawRight and increase access to justice.

In case you missed it…

Our Annual Report is full of stories about the impact our members have on some of the challenges faced by our clients. Enjoy them here as well as these highlights:

Refugee rights

Mary is a single mother and English is not her first language. She needed to work but as she was not considered a resident, she was not eligible for the government childcare subsidy and could not afford childcare. Mary applied for an exemption to the residency requirement under hardship provision, but was rejected. A member firm helped Mary have the decision reviewed and Mary is now eligible for the subsidy.

Domestic violence debt

Marie had experienced domestic violence for over 15 years and didn’t know she was liable for a $60,000 debt. She didn’t know the creditor and suspected the debt was from a contract her ex-partner had entered into. She was also reluctant to provide bank statements to the creditor, as they might disclose her location to her ex-partner. LawRight’s pro bono duty barrister at Enforcement Hearings in the Brisbane Magistrates Court negotiated with the creditor’s agent to provide redacted statements and appeared in court to explain why Marie wasn’t complying with the court summons. Marie felt relieved and safe.

Fighting for rehab

Jay wanted to attend residential rehab for his addiction issues but he faced many barriers. The landlord of the room he rented wanted to charge him a heavy penalty for breaking the lease while he was away. Jay also owed thousands of dollars of debt to payday lenders and his options to get ahead were limited. LawRight collaborated with Jay’s homelessness support workers to help Jay end the lease without penalty. He found alternative suitable housing, got waivers for his debts and got himself to rehab.

Changes at LawRight

Later this month, we will farewell our Joint Director, Sue Garlick, who leaves LawRight on 23 March. She has no immediate plans other than a period of recharging to prepare her for a new chapter at the right time.

Sue joined LawRight in 2006 as the Homeless Persons’ Legal Clinic policy officer and also served as the HPLC Senior Lawyer and our Deputy Director. In 2017, together with Linda Macpherson, she became our Joint Director. Throughout her time with LawRight, Sue initiated and developed a wide range of access to justice innovations including an annual legal literacy training day for front-line community workers; LegalPod – a boutique legal service for young people transitioning from the Child Safety system; and, the Legal Health Check project, which developed over several years into state, national and Indigenous projects, including the Law Yarn. Sue’s deep commitment and contribution to LawRight, our most vulnerable clients and the sector has been tremendous, and we will miss her greatly.

We look forward to sharing with you news of LawRight’s next leadership chapter.

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