LawRight Newsletter - April 2022 - Queensland Legal Walk 3

LawRight April 2022 – Queensland Legal Walk 3

Just before you relax….

We hope all LawRight supporters are planning a well-deserved rest, but before you log off for Easter, please register for the Queensland Legal Walk.

The BAQ President’s team have registered and are raring to walk at 7am, Tuesday 17 May. They’ve already raised over $900 for LawRight!

Prompt registrations save our small team time and encourage us. Please register your team or yourself today:

The walk will help keep the Magistrates Court self-representation service and financial counselling service open.

LawRight also self-funds our Health Justice Partnership at the Mater Young Adults Health Centre (MYAHC). One young adult receiving support at MYAHC shared:

“My roommate signed up to pay a debt belonging to a previous housemate for unpaid electricity bills. Without consulting,  he signed us up to a pay a rate that factoring in Centrelink being my only income I was left without money to eat or function. [Workers at MYAHC suggested I bring up the problem with LawRight]. [LawRight]  helped me plan and act out opening lines of communications with my roommates… and with the Energy Company and organisations to help. They made the process painless and were very helpful in providing knowledge about aspects of things I had totally no idea about. I would recommend Lawright to anyone in a position where they are overwhelmed… I always felt safe.”

LawRight Newsletter - March 2022 - Queensland Legal Walk 2

LawRight March 2022 – Queensland Legal Walk 2

Congratulations to North Quarter Lane chambers for being the first team to register and the first to donate – with a generous $777.

Prompt registrations save us time and encourage us. Please register your team or yourself today:

If you want help to register, please email Ben at

Please give

LawRight delivers two projects without government funding that risk closure:

  • Magistrates Court service for self-represented litigants
  • Financial counsellor for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness

Last week we spotlighted our financial counselling service and this week we look at the Magistrates Court Service.

Magistrates Court Spotlight

From July 2021, LawRight Court and Tribunal Services increased their services to self-represented litigants in the Magistrates Court, using self-generated funds and the support of pro bono firms to deliver appointments. This fledging service, which has already assisted 65 clients with over 141 legal issues, is now at risk of closure or significant reduction.

Most clients are involved in debt and contractual disputes, having received no legal advice to date. We also help a significant number of individuals trying to enforce judgment debts. Often another community legal centre has helped them obtain a judgment, but not to enforce it. We want to address this issue systemically as well as with the impacted individuals.

The service helped Ji-Min, who hired a car, which was stolen after her locked house was broken into and the car-keys taken. The hire car company started Magistrates Court proceedings for damages, arguing that Ji-Min failed to keep the car locked and the keys secure. She was told “she should have slept with the keys on her” and that if she didn’t propose a payment plan, costs would escalate. Ji-Min tried to prepare a defence but found the task too complicated, so she reached out to LawRight. A pro bono lawyer helped Ji-Min understand the court process and the deficiencies in the statement of claim and assisted her to respond with a settlement offer.

This outcome resolved months of stress for Ji-Min and ensured that court resources wouldn’t be wasted unnecessarily.

Join us for the 2022 Walk on 17 May and celebrate the power of pro bono.

LawRight Newsletter - March 2022 - Queensland Legal Walk

LawRight March 2022 – Queensland Legal Walk

Join us for the 2022 Walk on 17 May and celebrate the power of pro bono.

Walk with the crowd on the Brisbane waterfront or at your regional centre or local beauty spot, in a small group, or solo starting at 7 am. Celebrate the legal profession’s commitment to access to justice and register for the Queensland Legal Walk today!

Registrations are open for individuals and teams, click here

If your organisation or firm wants to create and be invoiced for a team, please email to get started.


LawRight delivers two projects without government funding that risk closure:
Magistrates Court service for self-represented litigants
Financial counsellor for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness

$200,000 will keep these services open. We can achieve this if each walker raises $200 and each team raises $1,000+.
Financial Counsellor spotlight


The Federal Shadow Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus QC visited LawRight’s partnership with Brisbane Youth Service last week to learn more about our integrated services.  Last year, our financial counsellor worked with staff and pro bono lawyers to help 78 people shift from homelessness to financial stability, resolving >$600,000 of fines and debts that impacted health and housing, and growing their financial literacy and awareness of legal rights.

Intergrated services make everyone stronger:

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Copyright © 2022 LawRIght, All rights reserved.

LawRight Newsletter - March 2022

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.

LawRight Newsletter - December 2021

LawRight December 2021

Thank you…

As our 20th year wraps up, thank you for your support and we wish you all a relaxed holiday. We hope you enjoyed the recent profile of LawRight in Proctor: LawRight – Celebrating 20 years of good pro bono – Proctor (

Annual Report Highlights

Your strategic pro bono efforts brings lasting and positive change for many vulnerable Queenslanders. Read the details in the Annual Report which also traces the history and highlights of each service over the last 20 years:

22,000 hours of pro bono legal services were delivered through LawRight -a significant decrease as covid restrictions limited our capacity to host pro bono students and professionals at each location but also enabled the efficiencies of volunteers working remotely. However, our pro bono partnerships at 22 courts, tribunals, community and health services continued to deliver outstanding impacts.

Here are five stories of pro bono persistence:

  • 90-year-old Bob owned a $100,000 share in a home with his son but family conflict forced him to leave his home and his belongings. Bob contacted his regional community legal service who wrote to his son but received no response, so they connected Bob to LawRight. A firm acted pro bono for over three years, taking Bob’s problem to the Supreme Court and negotiated a settlement to help Bob recover the money. Bob is now in a new home.
  • David had been sleeping rough for years but he built a good relationship with the 3rd Space pro bono lawyers and would often drop in for a chat and legal advice on different issues. When the council threatened to destroy his camp, David wanted to understand his rights. Through negotiations with the council, LawRight helped protect David’s camp while his application for housing was considered. David was prioritised and offered a suitable new home. He has re-located and remains happily housed.
  • Sam was a model prisoner and applied for parole, but by the time he was connected to LawRight, he’d been waiting 195 days for the Parole Board to make a decision – already 45 days longer than the law allowed. During the wait, his father had died and his mum became very ill, so Sam was anxious to care for her. Sam could read a bit but he couldn’t write, so pro bono lawyers helped him prepare and lodge an effective formal application to the Supreme Court to compel the Board to decide. LawRight provided 87 similar appointments to prisoners in 2021 as well as 177 self-help toolkits. We also collaborated with others to address the reasons for the delays.
  • “we’re there for the journey not the bandaid” according to financial counsellor, Natasha Ramsay who joined our Community and Health Justice Partnerships (CHJP) this year. With hours of persistent pro bono legal work, the CHJP facilitated the resolution of almost $1M of debts and fines which burdened our clients – people who experience homelessness, mental illness, are refugees or victims of sexual assault and are vulnerable to unfair or unlawful practices.
  • Over several years LawRight built trust and worked together to achieve a rare Forensic Order revocation. Karen is in her 70s but many years ago, during a relapse of her schizophrenia, she committed a minor property crime and reacted to the investigating police – due to her illness, she believed that they were trying to kidnap her. This resulted in assault charges and ultimately a Forensic Order. Karen has lived a very quiet life since and cooperated with her treating team but hasn’t moved off the Order as she is too anxious to attend Mental Health Review Tribunal hearings and won’t talk to LawRight staff for longer than 10 minutes. When she realized that a Forensic Order will limit her aged care support, Karen knew she could trust us and decided to try for a revocation. She succeeded even though the clinical evidence, client presentation and resistance from the Attorney-General have remained similar for some years. LawRight’s advocacy and persistence ultimately made the difference.

Red Wine for Justice

Mark your calendars now for Friday 18 February. Your tickets and donated wines have been safely cellared and we will issue reminders additional tickets in the new year.


The LawRight AGM was held on 22 November. We farewelled Katie Clark, Partner of MinterEllison who has been a member of the Management Committee since 2016 and are grateful to all new and continuing members of the Committee.

LawRight Management Committee
President – Roslyn Atkinson AO
Treasurer – Tony Denholder, Ashurst
Secretary – Gabriella Ritchie, McCullough Robertson
Tania Boal, MurphySchmidt
Stephen Knight, MinterEllison
Jacqueline Wootton, Herbert Smith Freehills
Francesca Bartlett, TC Beirne School of Law
Andrew Crowe QC, BAQ
Binny De Saram, QLS
Angela Rae of Counsel
Hamish Clift of Counsel

LawRight Newsletter - November 2021

LawRight November 2021

Public Interest Address

Thank you to all who joined us for the Public Interest Address on Monday, 25 October by the Hon Susan Kiefel AC, Chief Justice Of Australia. Her Honour confirmed the role of pro bono in helping to achieve the purpose of the law and the courts to settle disputes and maintain confidence in the legal system.

“In the provision of essential legal services to individuals, organisations like LawRight contribute to advancing the rule of law for the benefit of the whole community.”

The full address can be found here.

We were also privileged to have Judge Nathan Jarro offer an Acknowledgment of Country on our behalf. He helped us appreciate the Traditional Owners’ passage and camps among the bends and plentiful resources of the Brisbane river (Meanjin) and to lament that:

“Perhaps by the mid to late 1800s, Aboriginal people might have lost control of Meanjin which they had nurtured and visited since time immemorial”.

Thank you too for your strong support for the raffle, which raised over $2000 (and especially to those who persisted with payment of your tickets following a series of IT mishaps).

A Christmas gift for years to come

Aim high and buy a raffle ticket now to win these stunning pearls.

All donations support LawRight in perpetuity by growing LawRight’s subfund of the Queensland Community Foundation.

Thanks to QCF for supporting LawRight so generously! QCF are also promoting the raffle at the WA Lee Lecture next Thursday, 18 November, at the Banco Court, to be delivered by the Honourable Justice Sarah Derrington. You can buy tickets to the event here:

Annual Report

We are busy compiling stories and impacts from FY21 as well as highlighting the history of our many pro bono initiatives, as the conclusion of our 20th year celebrations. Watch for our Report in your inbox or mail box at the end of this month – it will make wonderful summer reading.

LawRight Newsletter - October 2021 - Law Reform Edition

LawRight Newsletter – October 2021 – Law Reform Edition

STOP PRESS: Due to the easing of health restrictions, a small number of additional seats are available for the Public Interest Address on Monday, 25 October. Join us to hear from the Hon. Susan Kiefel AC, Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia and celebrate 20 years of pro bono through LawRight.

Register here before 9am Monday

Law Reform Edition 

LawRight pursues law and policy reforms that improve access to justice. This month we have been active in the media, research and legislative processes, on behalf of our clients.

Parole Board delays

LawRight continues to support prisoners impacted by Parole Board delays despite the introduction of a fourth Board. An amendment to extend decision-making requirements of the Board (from 120 days to 150 days) has been introduced in the Police Powers and Responsibilities and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 (Qld). This amendment will roll back a key outcome of the 2017 Sofronoff review and cause great difficulties for prisoners planning housing and income options in the community. We made a submission and will give oral evidence later this month.

Thanks to a secondment from new members DWF, our State Courts office has more capacity to be active in law reform responses.
View all our submissions on defamation law here

Defamation law changes 

20% of our State Court clients seek help with defamation proceedings and we have paid attention to this area of law for some time. July amendments to the Defamation Act 2005 (Qld) introduced major changes such as a new ‘serious harm’ element and a mandatory concerns notice process, most of which LawRight advocated for throughout the consultation process. The recent High Court decision in Voller confirmed that media companies maintaining public Facebook pages that encouraged and facilitated third-party comments were publishers of those comments. LawRight clients are often involved in proceedings because they have commented on or maintain public Facebook pages and groups and we ensure their perspective is heard in the reform process. Last month, we participated by invitation in a stakeholder roundtable for the Council of Attorneys-General’s second round of defamation law reform, which focused on the topic of the potential liability of ‘internet intermediaries’.
View our submissions on these matters here

Blue Card processes 

Since 2018, LawRight has assisted 253 people with Blue Card reviews at QCAT and this year we have worked with students from QUT to highlight our concerns with that process and its impact on work and training opportunities for already disadvantaged communities.  Early research data indicates that of 39 clients who applied for a QCAT review of their negative notice, 11 had the decision overturned, a process that mostly took two years or more. Nine elected not to continue with a review (for a range of reasons including lack of understanding or feeling overwhelmed by the process) and 16 still await a decision.

We recently made a submission on the Child Protection Reform and other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 (Qld), which reflects some of these concerns and will also be commenting on the Working with Children (Indigenous Communities) Amendment Bill 2021 (Qld). 
Read our submission here

Toll fines  

Our Community and Health Justice Partnerships assist many people with excessive and unfair fines debts. Managing Lawyer Steve Grace spoke to ABC news about our concerns with toll fines, including those accumulated by ex-partners driving their partner’s car repeatedly through a toll point.
Read the article here: Drivers risk losing vehicles as Queensland claws back $150m in fines for unpaid road tolls – ABC News 

DV survivor seeking assistance 

The Guardian recently reported on our client “Lillian”, who speaks limited English and endured years of domestic violence. When Lillian called police after she had been injured, the police spoke only to her husband, who said our client was the perpetrator, and this description was subsequently conveyed to the treating hospital.

When Lillian sought financial assistance for her injuries, Victim Assist Qld (VAQ) refused to accept that she was the victim.

LawRight pro bono and staff lawyers helped Lillian apply for a QCAT review of VAQ’s decision and self-represent at a directions hearing. With an opinion from pro bono barrister Sean Russell, pro bono representation from Fuller & White and assistance through our Disbursement Fund, QCAT heard the matter on the papers and ordered that VAQ reconsider their decision.
Read the full story here

And what about Afghan refugees? 

LawRight is supporting the strong pro bono response to the needs of the Afghan community by collaborating with the Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS).  We have volunteered three senior staff to supervise pro bono initiatives at RAILS.

LawRight Newsletter - PIA 2021

LawRight Public Interest Event 2021

Dear Friends

You are invited to the Public Interest Address on Monday, 25 October, 2021, delivered by the Hon. Susan Kiefel AC, Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia and celebrating 20 years of pro bono through LawRight.

Our first speaker was David Marr on the Tampa affair and since then the PIA has been held biannually, canvassing Guantanamo Bay concerns, immigration detention, civil justice reforms, public interest litigation and the role of lawyers in environmental, mental health, child protection and First Nations community challenges.

The PIA is attended by members of the judiciary, LawRight member firms and barristers, academics, government officers and other supporters.

Join us for a seated lunch at noon, Monday 25 October 2021

Customs House, 399 Queen Street Brisbane$130 per personRSVP October 15, 2011

  • Book a table of 10, a smaller group or an individual seat.
  • Names of guests for group will be required by 20 October 2021.
  • Online credit card bookings (except AMEX) can be instantly refund should the event be cancelled. Alternatively, book manually with EFT via

Book now at



LawRight Newsletter - August 2021

LawRight August 2021

Red Wine for Justice: now on Friday, 18 February 2022

If a year’s delay improved the Olympics, how magnificent will a rescheduled Red Wine for Justice be? So many fundraising records to break! All the beautiful donated wines will be cellared and all tickets are valid for 2022. Registrations for additional tickets will open later this year. For those who would prefer a refund for existing bookings, please email us.

Red Wine for Justice will support our financial counsellor service which helps women leaving violent relationships to resolve debt, establish budgets and access entitlements. Increased financial literacy and security can change the trajectory of a survivor’s life and children.

Regina is a young mother whose experience of family violence prevented her returning to work or managing daily routines. She connected to LawRight at a women’s crisis accommodation service. Pro bono lawyers helped Regina secure victim compensation and a safe tenancy. They also worked with our Financial Counsellor to resolve Regina’s “sexually transmitted” debts (for her partner’s fines and electricity usage), access the correct Centrelink benefit and plan a budget. Regina has now settled into a secure tenancy with her children, armed with skills to maintain financial stability.

LawRight secondments have strengthened pro bono across Queensland for almost 20 years. Since Carla Klease from Blake Dawson Waldron (now Ashurst) was deployed in July 2002 to establish the Homeless Persons’ Legal Clinic, secondees have increased LawRight’s impact. Allens and McCullough Robertson provided a series of secondments to our fledgling referrals service from September 2003, to undertake case assessments and match eligible clients with participating firms and barristers.

Two decades of LawRight secondments

A 2004 Allens secondee helped establish our Rural Regional Remote project to strengthen statewide pro bono, leading to regional offices in Townsville, Toowoomba and Cairns. We helped Clayton Utz second a lawyer to the Hervey Bay Community Legal Centre in 2007 and LawRight’s support for this regional centre still continues.

MinterEllison provided a secondment to the Homeless Persons’ Legal Clinic in December 2003 and for over a decade since, helping to establish new services including phone-based legal outreach to outer metropolitan Brisbane where homelessness often “begins”.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth commenced a secondment program with LawRight in 2008, providing a full-time lawyer to assess our referrals to member firms and barristers. Since 2017 Corrs secondees have been placed in the State Courts office of Court & Tribunal Services.

“Corrs secondees dramatically increase the capacity of the State Courts office. We now offer more client appointments and can offer more intensive help with complex Supreme Court and Court of Appeal proceedings. The consistent support from Corrs has also given us confidence to establish new programs from this office”.
Ben Tuckett, Managing Lawyer, LawRight Court & Tribunal Services.

DLA Piper, Norton Rose Fulbright, Sparke Helmore and TressCox Lawyers (now HWL Ebsworth) have all provided short term secondments during times of high demand.

LawRight currently hosts three secondees:

Hall & Wilcox to Mental Health Legal Practice – Georgia Gamble
Corrs Chambers Westgarth to Court & Tribunal Services (State Courts) – Hugo Oates
Colin Biggers & Paisley to Court & Tribunal Services (QCAT) – Jacob Currie

Later this year, we’ll welcome secondees from MinterEllison to the Community & Health Justice partnerships team and from new members DWF to Court &Tribunal Services (State Courts).

Thank you to all these firms for their outstanding support.

LawRight Newsletter - May 2021 (Queensland Legal Walk - 3)

LawRight May 2021

Why support pro bono?

Barrister Salwa Marsh raised over $4,000 for the 2020 Queensland Legal Walk to become the individual fundraising champion – a highlight in her career-long support of LawRight.


‘I started my association with LawRight (or QPILCH as it was at the time) as a graduate rotating into Minter Ellison’s Community Investment Program. Spending my Thursdays at the QPILCH Homeless Persons’ Legal Clinic in Fortitude Valley was my first experience of working directly with clients. It was an enormously rewarding experience for me professionally and personally. I learnt what I think is the key to a career in the law – a love of working with people, often during very difficult and stressful times in their lives, to help them solve problems.More years later than I care to admit, I have continued my involvement with LawRight as a volunteer and enthusiastic Legal Walker. LawRight do so much with so little – I consider it a great privilege to assist in the small ways that I can. Just as I did as a graduate many years ago, I find pro bono work and fundraising support an extremely rewarding opportunity to use my skills meaningfully to contribute to the lives of others and an invaluable opportunity to learn.’

Time to give
The Walk is on Tuesday 18 May. You still have time to register and fundraise.We will achieve our goal of $200,000 if you raise more than $200 as an individual or $1000 as a team.
Hustle, budget, party, bake or auction if you want to become a champion like Salwa.LawRight relies solely on your fundraising to continue our:

  • New pilot service for self-represented litigants in the Magistrates Court
  • Health Justice Partnership at Mater Young Adults Health Centre
  • Financial counsellor service for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness
  • Disbursement fund, supporting pro bono work by Community Legal Centres and the legal profession.

Register or donate today

Have questions?

Please contact our Walk team at if you want help to:

  • gather a regional team
  • decide what location works best for you
  • register yourself or a team
  • connect to a team your firm or organisation has already registered (or try using the unique team registration link provided to the team organiser)