As we reach the end of 2019 and reflect on the impact we have been able to make, the Fitzroy Legal Service would like to acknowledge the support provided by our funders, program partners and individual donors, and thank all our staff and volunteers for their dedication to advancing access to justice for all members of our community.
Our 2018-2019 Annual Report was released on 28 November 2019 at our Annual General Meeting and can be viewed here.
New Board Chair
Claire Febey was appointed Chair of the Fitzroy Legal Service Board on 3 October 2019, replacing Dylan Goldsworthy who resigned due to a change in work circumstances. Dylan was the inaugural chair of the amalgamated entity and we would like to acknowledge his contribution to Darebin Community Legal Centre and Fitzroy Legal Service.
Women Transforming Justice
Our Women Transforming Justice Project was profiled by the Victorian Legal Services Board (VLSB) in their Keeping Women Out of the Justice System Review of Year One 2019. We are pleased to announce that the VLSB has re-funded Women Transforming Justice for a further two years.
Ramsay Foundation Awards Grant to Fitzroy Legal Service
Thanks to new funding provided by the Paul Ramsay Foundation, in 2020 we will be partnering with the University of Melbourne to look at a new model for supporting the decision making of people with disability to improve participation in the justice system. Our Principal Lawyer Jen Black took part in the Foundation’s Peer to Peer program, run in partnership with Philanthropy Australia, which brought together ten innovative Australian not-for-profits to use problem solving methodology to help break the cycle of disadvantage. Based on peer review, five of these proposals have received $150,000 each. To find out more click here for a short video.
LGBTIQ+ Family Law Advice Clinic
Members of the LGBTIQ+ community seeking advice on family law matters should note down the first Wednesday of every month. In partnership with Nicholes Family Lawyers, Fitzroy Legal Service is continuing its free and anonymous LGBTIQ+ Legal Clinic.
Nicholes Family Lawyers are experienced in dealing with a broad range of family law issues, with a particular focus on, and insight into, issues affecting LGBTIQ+ communities and the surrounding law. They recognise that every person deserves access to quality legal advice and offer an inclusive, friendly service.
During each session, you will receive quality legal advice tailored to your situation from an experienced family lawyer. Appointments are for 30 minutes each, with four half hour appointments available, commencing from 6.30pm.
If you are seeking advice on family law matters like starting a family, donor agreements, property settlements, parenting disputes, binding financial agreements or family violence, and you are a member of the LGBTIQ+ community, call (03) 9419 3744 to make an appointment.
Volunteer spotlight: Vu Dang
Vu Dang is a long-term volunteer with Fitzroy Legal Service, completing his postgraduate law degree at Latrobe University and ANU in 2010.
Vu commenced volunteering with the night service immediately after graduating marking December 2019 as his 10th year of volunteering with Fitzroy Legal Service. Vu has become one of our most reliable and committed volunteer lawyers, volunteering two nights a week on a weekly basis. He provides great assistance when working closely with Vietnamese clients in overcoming language barriers.
In addition to his legal practice, Vu completed an IT bachelor degree at RMIT and is a qualified programmer as well as a qualified and professional sports photographer working for the Australian Open for the past ten years. In his downtime, Vu enjoys watching tennis and snooker as well as touring Australia in a four-wheel drive.
Vu has a strong commitment to Fitzroy Legal Service and wishes to continue working for another ten years.
Employee demoted after sexual harassment complaint
Our Migrant Employment Law Clinic continues to achieve outstanding outcomes for clients, including Sudesh Kumari, whose case has received significant media attention. Ms Kumari alleged she was victimised by her employer who forced her to take leave and change roles after she complained that a male colleague sexually-harassed her when he stared at her breasts. Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Member Louise Johnson found fault in the response by Bervar Pty Ltd to our client's complaint to two managers and an HR officer in August 2017 that a colleague stared at her breasts when he talked to her on several occasions.
The Law Handbook 2020
Editor Naomi Saligari has been busy finalising the content for The Law Handbook 2020 which will be released in early February 2020. Stay tuned for further information on how to purchase your copy of this iconic plain language guide to the law in Victoria.
In anticipation of the release of The Law Handbook 2020, the hard copy edition of The Law Handbook 2019 has been discounted to $99 (plus postage). Purchase your copy here.
End of year office closure and night service closure dates
Our evening legal advice services at Reservoir and the Fitzroy Town Hall have now closed for 2019 and will re-open on Tuesday 14 January 2020. Our offices will also be closed from Friday 20 December 2019, re-opening 9am Monday 6 January 2020.
On the evening of Friday 13 December 2019 we took time out to celebrate the hundreds of talented and hard working volunteers and members that make our organisation what it is! Thanks to the Wesley Anne in Northcote for hosting us.
[Above - Volunteer Marcus Crossley, Board Chair Claire Febey and Staff Member Helen Davidson]
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Across Victoria, many people cannot afford the legal help they need. Without that help, they face court without legal representation, are treated unfairly by debt collectors, lose their homes, or live in fear of a violent partner.
We rely on donations from generous, community-minded people to support our work in the community.
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