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September 2016
 
Dear Tim,

Welcome to the 18th edition of Pro Bono News, the newsletter of JusticeNet SA.
 
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News and Events


 
Record turnout for Walk for Justice 2016

Almost 600 members from across the legal community joined this year’s Walk for Justice on 17 May. It was inspiring to see so many South Australians assembled to support access to justice. 

Walkers raised $49,136 to support the work of JusticeNet SA. The funds raised will enable JusticeNet to continue its work to facilitate access to justice for low-income and disadvantaged members of the South Australian community.

Read more about our Walk for Justice
JusticeNet SA launches Asylum Seeker Disbursement Fund – can you contribute?

Many pro bono clients lack the means necessary to pay for disbursements. For asylum seekers, the most routine of these disbursements is the cost of interpreters. The inability to meet the costs of an interpreter can be a significant barrier to accessing justice.
 
We are grateful to Blackwood Circle of Friends for Refugees who have agreed to make a monthly contribution towards disbursements payable by RASP referred clients.
 
You can make a one-off or ongoing donation towards JusticeNet’s Asylum Seeker Disbursement Fund, by clicking on the button below.
 

Crown Solicitor’s Office Makes Art for Justice

On 27 May 2016 the Crown Solicitors Office held the Inaugural CSO Art Prize Competition and Auction. Proceeds from the event were kindly donated to JusticeNet SA.
 
The Art Prize attracted 15 entries from staff at the Crown Solicitor’s Office displaying a wide range of artistic talent from painting to photography and sculpture (including an example of an object trouve work by Jeremy Brown which received a commendation from the judges).
 
Read more about the Art Prize Competition
Become a ‘Friend of JusticeNet SA’
 
JusticeNet SA facilitates access to justice for low-income and disadvantaged South Australians who cannot access legal help elsewhere or afford private representation. While membership subscriptions are a significant source of income, they cover less than 50% of our core operating costs.
 
As a Friend of JusticeNet you can help ensure our long-term future for as little as $10 per month. Your donation is 100% tax-deductible.


 
Become a Member of JusticeNet SA

JusticeNet acknowledges the support of our existing members and new corporate members Kruse Legal, Mahony's Lawyers and Treloar & Treloar Solicitors.
 
 

Have you renewed your membership? JusticeNet SA does not receive public funding for core operational expenses. Your membership is vitally important to us. Please contact Tim Graham, Executive Director at tim.graham@justicenet.org.au for more information about the benefits of membership or visit our website.

Service Updates

Pro Bono Referral Service

We are delighted to welcome back our Referrals Solicitor Elizabeth Boxall after maternity leave. Our thanks goes to Kiley Rogers who filled this role while Elizabeth was away. We would also like to thank Sarah Bohmer and Victoria Greenslade who have recently completed secondments with the Referral Scheme through the Australian Government Solicitor’s Office.

Help for Harry: homeless, unemployed man wins redress against illegal eviction
In 1996 Harry (not his real name) entered into a verbal agreement with a landlord to occupy and reside at a property in the Adelaide foothills. For 17 years Harry lived alone on the property. While he did not pay rent, Harry paid bills associated with the property and maintained and improved the land.

In September 2013 Harry's life was turned upside down. Police officers arrived at the premises and informed Harry that he was occupying the premises without permission of the owner. He was made to leave immediately. As a result of his eviction Harry became homeless.

JusticeNet helped Harry get justice. Read more here.
Refugee and Asylum Seeker Project
 
JusticeNet SA’s Refugee and Asylum Seeker Project (RASP) has made 21 referrals for pro bono legal assistance since 1 May 2016, more than any equivalent period since RASP began in 2012.
 
In June 2016, the RASP received two applications for pro bono legal assistance from Legacy Caseload asylum seekers who had received negative decisions from the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA). Those applicants have been referred for pro bono legal assistance in relation to applications for judicial review. 
 
These referrals are significant, as they mark the beginning of the Legacy Caseload’s demand for pro bono legal assistance in relation to judicial review proceedings. With approximately 2000 Legacy Caseload asylum seekers residing in South Australia, increasing the pro bono capacity of the RASP is a priority for JusticeNet SA. We invite legal practitioners interested in contributing to the work RASP is doing to contact the RASP Coordinator, Lara Proske at migration@justicenet.org.au.
 
JusticeNet acknowledges the support of the Westpac Foundation and Law Foundation of South Australia for JusticeNet’s Refugee and Asylum Seeker Project.
Pro bono lawyers help reverse decision to cancel citizenship
'Mohammad' (not his real name) applied to JusticeNet for pro bono assistance in relation to a decision of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to cancel his Australian citizenship approval, on the basis that he was not of good character. On referral from JusticeNet, Jane Cox provided Mohammad with vital pro bono assistance in relation to an application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to review DIBP’s decision.

The Tribunal was satisfied that Mohammad is a person of good character, and remitted the matter to DIBP for reconsideration. The grant of Australian citizenship for a refugee is of critical importance, not only with respect to settlement, but also with respect to family reunification. This outcome is extremely significant for Mohammad, and a reminder of how pro bono assistance facilitates access to justice.
Federal Courts Self-Representation Service
 
The Federal Courts Self-Representation Service welcomes Josh Schultz. Josh replaces Claire Benn who resigned to travel with her partner and was last seen in Rio. Josh is currently undertaking his GDLP and expects to be admitted to practice in September.
 
The Self-Representation Service is open four days per week and located on lvl 7 of the Commonwealth Courts Building. The service staff and volunteers have provided 113 appointments to self-represented clients over the last year. Staff also attend the Federal Circuit Court Bankruptcy List every Monday afternoon, and the Migration List, which is convened fortnightly on Fridays, to assist self-represented litigants present.
 
The service is seeing an increase in clients with migration-related judicial review matters. In cooperation with the Federal Court, the service has prepared an information sheet and have had it translated into Punjabi (being the language most frequently spoken by self-represented litigants with migration-related matters.) The service has also had translated the standard orders that are made in migration matters at the first return date and the Federal Circuit Court’s Notice to Applicants.
Creditor’s petition against Simon dismissed
Simon (not his real name) sought assistance from the FCSRS to challenge a creditor’s petition that had been served on him. Simon had been unaware that potential bankruptcy proceedings were afoot as he said that he had never received the bankruptcy notice that must proceed the filing of a creditor’s petition. The FCSRS volunteer solicitors assisted Simon by drafting a Notice of Opposition to the Petition and affidavit based on the grounds that Simon had not been served with the bankruptcy notice.

During the course of proceedings it came to light that Simon had been served with the bankruptcy notice when he attended the creditor’s premises to sign a direct debit request to pay the debt the subject of the bankruptcy proceedings. Simon had sufficient means to pay the remainder of the debt in full and was able to finalise all outstanding matters with the creditor. The creditor’s petition was dismissed and the Registrar took the unusual step of ordering costs in favour of Simon.
State Courts Self-Representation Service
 
In only 10 months since the combined District and Supreme Court Self-Representation Service commenced in September 2015 the service has helped over 301 individual service users. Staff and volunteer lawyers have provided 204 appointments.
 
The service would like to acknowledge the support of the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) in recent months. The AGD has generously provided a one-off grant ($8,000) for the service once the original funding came to an end. The service is now currently funded until 11 November 2016 and JusticeNet is having discussions with key stakeholders to ensure the future of this important service. The AGD also seconded crown law solicitor Samantha Sisomphou to the service for 2 days per week during July and August.
Single mother successfully defends landlord's appeal in District Court

The SCSRS helped 'Joanne' (not her real name) defend an appeal by her ex-landlord against an award of compensation made by the Residential Tenancies Tribunal in Joanne's favour. The SRS helped Joanne with drafting affidavits, an outline of argument and provided advice as to the appeal process. The SCSRS also helped Joanne with the presentation of her case before the District Court. The landlord's appeal was dismissed and the Joanne was awarded an increase in the modest compensation originally ordered by the Tribunal. Joanne was empowered by her experience, stating,

“I cannot recommend this service highly enough. I feel so fortunate to have received this help - I may have given up without it…I hope that this fantastic service continues to be available in perpetuity for all those who may need it”.

What is JusticeNet SA?

JusticeNet is an independent not-for-profit organisation that provides pro bono (free) legal assistance to low-income and disadvantaged clients in South Australia and Northern Territory. JusticeNet also assists charitable not-for-profit and community groups. For more details of our pro bono legal servies and eligibility criteria: www.justicenet.org.au
This email was sent to tim.graham@justicenet.org.au
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