LawRight March 2022

Chief Justice changes

Congratulations to the Honourable Justice Helen Bowskill on her appointment as the new Chief Justice of Queensland. We wish the Honourable Chief Justice Catherine Holmes AC all the best and are grateful for her strong support for LawRight over many years, especially in her role as our Patron. She led Queensland Legal Walks with as much cheer as she could muster at that time of day, enjoyed Street Soccer events with our homeless and community supporters and encouraged our staff and pro bono volunteers at every opportunity.

Queensland flooding

Our thoughts are with all those, including colleagues, who are impacted by recent flooding in Queensland and interstate. Thank you to the many firms that have offered additional pro bono support. LawRight will collaborate with the legal assistance sector to respond to requests for flood support and will assess any enquiries via our Pro Bono Connect team. We expect to see increased insurance claims, tenancy disputes, employment related issues and small business issues.

With 2022 giving every indication of being another year of challenge, let’s remember what we achieved together last year and the impact for our clients.

Community and Health Justice Partnerships resolved $1.2 million of unfair debts and fines last year for clients who didn’t realise their money challenges had a legal dimension.

Marli had kinship care of her young family members but her tenancy was at risk and she was buried in debt. Because debts and financial pressure impact a person’s well-bring and jeopardise their housing, LawRight prioritises this legal need. Over several months, our lawyers worked closely with Marli and her support networks to build mutual trust. By resolving her debts, we increased Marli’s capacity to focus on family and protect her tenancy. Marli’s confidence and skills to selfadvocate have grown as we worked together. She is still housed and remains connected to LawRight, reaching out when other issues arise.
Pro bono barristers and solicitors donated over 7,000 hours of expertise to resolve complex and stressful disputes in Queensland courts and tribunals.

B and A were disturbed by their neighbour’s conduct and complained to the neighbour’s employer. The employer held a confidential complaints process but took no disciplinary action. The neighbour commenced defamation action in the District Court about statements made during the confidential meetings. B and A wanted to settle the dispute but had exhausted their savings on private lawyers with no resolution and an inadequate defence being filed. LawRight’s rostered pro bono lawyers helped B and A amend their defence and make offers to settle and have the dispute mediated. Their neighbour agreed to attend mediation and after further advice and the efforts of a pro bono mediator, an agreement was reached and months of stress for B and A ended.

Full pro bono representation was provided in 113 matters where no other legal help was available.

For over five years and 500 hours, a pro bono firm helped resolve Thelma’s problem. Her daughter had borrowed $150,000 to buy herself a home. Ten years later, when Thelma got sick and was relying on Centrelink, she asked for the loan to be repaid. Her daughter refused, claiming the money was a gift. Caxton’s Seniors legal service connected Thelma to LawRight. The pro bono firm undertook extensive evidence gathering before filing proceedings, which settled close to the trial date.

2022 Queensland Legal Walk 

Mark your calendars for the Queensland Legal Walk on 17 May 2022. Join our legal community to celebrate the power of pro bono and raise funds for LawRight services.

Registrations will open soon.