Elaine's Story

Elaine’s Story

Elaine is a single mum who lost her job and her housing unexpectedly, had to put her belongings into storage and was using 85% of her income for emergency accommodation. Debt collectors harassed her, and she struggled with basic necessities. LawRight staff and pro bono lawyers helped Elaine resolve over $3,500 worth of debt and had $1,000 of her storage costs waived. LawRight’s financial counsellor helped Elaine enter a fairer plan to repay her fines and she is now safe in public housing. We continue to help her.

Elaine wrote and told us the story in her own words:

“I dont know how to say it without tears. My life was a struggle… I had no one to turn to… I lost my job and got kicked out of the unit with my [child]… We were on the streets. [They] missed school and I was struggling with… panic attacks. Couldnt afford my medications coz the little I had was going into fuel and food for my [child]. I was in the dark trying my best but still couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel until Micah Project got involved. They found us a place and not long after I get a call from LawRight. They well explained what they do and booked us for a longer meeting on the phone. From there my life changed. They helped me with everything that I couldn’t do on my own. They called to see if I was OK and was ready to help me sort my bad situations. Thank you… my [child] and I are living stress free from the work you did for us. I thank you so much and appreciate everything you have done for us. You saved us.”

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Asha's Story

Asha’s Story

Asha is a single mother of five children who was at risk of being evicted into homelessness from her rental property. Staff and pro bono lawyers worked closely with Asha’s community support team to prepare for her tribunal hearing: drafting submissions, speaking notes, and providing advice on negotiations with the housing provider. Ultimately, the parties settled the dispute and Asha was able to stay.

“LawRight provided an invaluable service to our shared client. They took the time to understand the client’s goals and values and went above and beyond in assisting the client to prepare for a daunting QCAT Hearing. They also took the time to ensure that I had an in depth understanding of their work, enabling me to pass information on to other clients in similar positions. LawRight was instrumental in the client achieving a fantastic outcome and they have been a wonderful organisation to work alongside.”

– Kyabra community housing worker

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Natalie's Story

Natalie's Story

Federal Court Services

Natalie’s disabilities prevented her from accessing a business and she brought a disability discrimination complaint in the Federal Courts after she couldn’t resolve her concerns through a Australian Human Rights Commission conciliation. Through several appointments, LawRight volunteers helped Natalie draft her originating application, affidavit, and a statement of claim. Her strong case elicited an early offer to settle and LawRight guided Natalie’s negotiations so that the matter was resolved without extensive litigation.

“I think this is a service that is needed, particularly by people such as myself who are unable to afford solicitors’ costs. The service meant that I was able to get justice within the system. I would not have been able to get any result otherwise. The other party in the case continually said that I would not win my case, expressing that they had more money on several occasions, this service ensured that I was able to reach a solution in my favour.”

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Gigi's Story

Gigi’s Story

Queensland and Administrative Tribunal Services

Gigi’s violent ex-partner brought proceedings against her in QCAT for a $20,000 debt. Gigi didn’t dispute the loan, which she had been repaying, but she didn’t accept the additional interest or the requirement to pay the balance of the loan in full.

Her partner, despite being the alleged perpetrator of the violence, had obtained a DVO against Gigi as a form of control. He constantly threatened to report Gigi for breach of the order, so she couldn’t contact him to resolve the dispute.

Pro bono lawyers at a QCAT service appointment helped Gigi draft a response to the minor debt application and a firm decided to provide on- going representation to Gigi. They negotiated with her partner, arranged mediation, a settlement and a no-interest payment plan.

“I would like to thank you and your team sincerely for your professionalism and help with resolving this. It is truly appreciated.”

– Gigi

Copyright © 2023 LawRight, All rights reserved.

B and A's Story

B and A’s Story

State Court Services

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.

“We had our mediation today and after working through everything …we have reached an agreement that puts this matter at an end… thank you so much for your support these last few months and also for [connecting is to the mediator].”

– Clients

“I feel incredibly honoured to be a…small part, of the incredible impact…that LawRight continues to make on our community across Queensland… When I [act as a pro bono mediator], it brings me immense satisfaction, beyond monetary terms. … Thank you…for the opportunity to help these parties to reach an agreement”

– Pro bono mediator

Copyright © 2023 LawRight, All rights reserved.

Flood Forum Story

Flood Forum Story

Emergency Funding

LawRight was one of five Community Legal Centres that, together with Legal Aid Queensland, received three months of emergency funds in April 2022. This funding was extended in July 2022 by the Department of Justice and Attorney-General and augmented by the new federal government’s October 2022 budget.

Bill Mitchell, Principal Solicitor at Townsville Community Law, has been providing and researching disaster legal response since the 1990s and recently noted the following about LawRight to a sector flood forum:

“[LawRight] have always been a fantastic partner, have always very supportive of us and helping find connections. Well set to make connections between you, your client and lawyers with more capacity to help. So this is the time they really come into their own (not to make it sound like they’re not busy the rest of the time) so make use of those connections.”

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Tara's Story

Tara’s Story

From Crisis to Capability

Teenager Tara had no trusted and responsible adults to turn to. When she had to vacate her regional student rental to access treatment and rehabilitation at the Mater, the landlord (who had been advised of her circumstances) demanded additional rent and issued a breach notice. LawRight’s Mater Health Justice Partnership negotiated the withdrawal of the breach notice, waiver of the remaining rent, the return of the bond and the reinstatement of Tara’s clean rental record.

After learning to trust us, Tara disclosed a history of sexual abuse. We helped her apply to Victim Assist and linked her with Mater clinicians to provide trauma support and counselling. Tara reached out to resolve a driving offence and we helped her self- advocate. Her fine was downgraded to a caution.

When Tara was impacted by the 2022 floods and couldn’t access disaster payments, she reached out to LawRight again and we linked her with our Financial Counsellor. Together, they are building Tara’s financial literacy, increasing her resilience and helping Tara access her entitlements.

Copyright © 2023 LawRight, All rights reserved.

BJ's Story

BJ’s Story

Victims of Violence

BJ was abused by his stepfather and wanted to amend his birth certificate, to remove his perpetrator’s name and relist his biological father, who had long since passed away. Pro bono lawyers helped achieve this crucial step in BJ’s healing process.

“I would just like to say a very big thank you for all of your help with my husband’s estate. The lawyers were… so very very kind and I am so very grateful to you all for helping put this matter behind me now and moving on with my life. Speaking with them just made such a difference to me!

I think you are all an amazing bunch of people doing the work that you do!! Thank you once again for your kindness.”

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Mary's Story

Mary’s Story

Refugee Rights

Mary is a single mother and English is not her first language. Mary needed to work to support her child but could not afford childcare – she was not considered a resident and therefore ineligible for the government childcare subsidy.

Mary’s application for an exemption to the residency requirement under hardship provisions was rejected. A member firm helped Mary have the decision reviewed and Mary is now eligible for the childcare subsidy.

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Aki's Story

Aki’s Story

Disability Rights

Aki lives with a life-limiting disability, requiring her to use a wheelchair and minimise her exposure to infection – she only leaves her home for medical appointments.

Aki’s public housing was no longer suitable for her daily needs, and a disability report recommended she be approved for single occupancy accommodation with wheelchair access. The report further stated she is unable to live with others due to the significant risk of infection, mental health risks as well as privacy and dignity considerations.

The NDIA refused to provide funding for Aki to move to suitable accommodation. A member firm helped Aki appeal to the AAT, where the necessary funding was approved at last.

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