Sunday, 8 July 2012

VLA fact sheets

Victoria Legal Aid are reducing the number of cases their duty solicitors will become involved in at sittings of the Magistrates' Court. The changes to their criteria are discussed here.

They say on their website:

From July 2012 duty lawyer services in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria will prioritise people in custody, and people who cannot afford to pay for representation having regard to their circumstances and the seriousness of the charges.

To assist people who are no longer eligible for representation, but either can't or won't obtain the services of a private practitioner, VLA have produced a number of Fact Sheets. They have made these available on their website here. I haven't read them all so I'm not commenting about their accuracy, but any attempt to summarise (sometimes complex) legal propositions into a single page can make for interesting reading.

An overview of terms used in the other sheets is provided on the What do these words mean? sheet.

Procedural matters

P1 Pleading guilty
P2 Pleading not guilty
P3 Diversion
P4 Licence restoration
P5 Removing an alcohol interlock
P6 Rehearings
P7 Challenging fines (link broken)
P8 Appealing a Magistrates’ Court decision
P9 What I want to say in court

Specific Offences

O1 Traffic fines
O2 Dog behaviour offences
O3 Department of Transport, Failure to give name and address
O4 Department of Transport, Prohibited language or behaviour on public transport
O5 Department of Transport, Fail to produce a valid ticket
O6 Department of Transport, Placing feet on furniture
O7 Department of Transport, Smoking on public transport
O8 Department of Transport, Fail to produce evidence of concession
O9 Agency prosecutions, Fail to lodge a tax return
O10 Agency prosecutions, Fishing without a licence
O11 Minor traffic offence, Speeding
O12 Minor traffic offence, Driving an unregistered vehicle
O13 Minor traffic offence, Running a red light
O14 Minor traffic offence, Use of a mobile phone while driving
O15 Minor traffic offence, Failure to wear a seatbelt
O16 Drink driving (first offence)
O17 Drug driving (first offence)
O18 Unlicensed driving (first offence)
O19 Drive while suspended
O20 Careless driving
O21 Hoon driving and impounding a vehicle
O22 Breach of road rules
O23 Leaving the scene of a vehicle accident
O24 Public drunkenness offences
O25 Hinder police (no assault)
O26 Possession of cannabis

Other Sheets

M1 Criminal records
M2 Demerit points
Client fact sheet
Duty lawyer fact sheets index

These sheets are intended for unrepresented accused, but no doubt they'll also be useful to CLCs and practitioners who don't specialise in criminal or traffic matters.

1 comment:

Vincenzo Caltabiano said...

Thanks for the post about Victoria Legal Aid’s changes to the Adult Summary Crime Duty Lawyer Service. The new guidelines mean that Duty Lawyer Service will continue to assist a large number of people, over 30,000 annually. However the type of assistance will vary according to the person’s circumstances and the seriousness of the charge. This will allow duty lawyers to put more effort into those matters that need it, particularly clients with complex needs. Other clients will be supported to represent themselves while some may choose to engage private representation. The more effective allocation of resources will see more matters being finalised earlier. This will lead to a reduction in delay which is in the interests of all parties, particularly clients.
The factsheets have been designed to assist people get a better understanding of the court process and the specific charges that they face. We welcome feedback about the factsheets.