South Eastern Justice

Issue 1, September 2015
In this issue:
South East Justice and Springvale Monash Legal Service
Focus on Professional Practice Unit
Annual General Meeting
Hot Topic - Work Arrangements
Focus on Community Legal Education - Driving laws
Welcome to the inaugural issue of South East Justice - Springvale Monash Legal Service's (SMLS's) quarterly newsletter. South Eastern Justice will be a place to highlight our specialised practice service areas, our advocacy work, and our dedication to law and policy reform.  This newsletter will also focus on issues which are important to those we serve, our organisation and Melbourne's greater south eastern region. 
SMLS's vision is to lead in the creation of a fair and just society. South Eastern Justice will be an integral part of our achieving this vision through increasing our profile in the community and the legal service sector.  The newsletter will also highlight the importance of justice for all persons, equal access to services and the creation of a fairer society.
To read about the SMLS history, our services, our publications, or to get involved, please follow the link below.

In 2015 the Monash Professional Practice unit celebrates forty years of service, making it the oldest clinical practice of its kind in Australia.  The 'Prof Prac' unit, as it is known, benefits the community by providing free, confidential, professional, and supervised legal advice, referral and representation for thousands of community members annually.  The program provides undergraduate law students with an intensive legal practice experience from a social justice perspective.  Dr Kate Seear, Academic Director of SMLS, discusses the importance of the unit for future legal practitioners, stating:

"it gives our Monash law students invaluable practical legal experience in a supportive but challenging environment."

The Professional Practice unit is increasingly developing focused legal delivery areas in response to needs arising in the community.  Some of the more targeted services are the Family Violence Clinic, providing assistance to victims of family violence; and the Employment Law Clinic, which operates out of SMLS and provides legal advice and assistance to clients with a range of employment law matters including unfair dismissal.

During the 2013-14 financial year, 'prof prac' students gave legal advice to more than 2,500 people; and had over 2,000 cases opened.

Celebrating the Milestones that Shape the SMLS Identity

Annual General Meeting.  
Key note speaker
Ben Carroll, Member for Niddrie.

Introducing our inaugural Patron
His Honour Justice Shane Marshall.
Springvale Monash Legal Service would like to recognise the many people as volunteers or students, who have contributed toward improved legal outcomes for socially and economically disadvantaged clients.
The SMLS annual general meeting will be 6:30pm, Wednesday October 28, 2015
5 Osborne Avenue, Springvale.
RSVP October 21, 2015
Contact Phyllis Toparlanis (03) 9545 7400
Increasing risk of shams propagated by work arrangements via social media
The advent of social media has led to an upsurge of informal work arrangements, which is putting workers' rights at risk.
Increasingly people are turning to internet sites such as Gumtree in the pursuit of work, and some are now left with no payment despite having provided the service.  
Cameron Horn, a lawyer from SMLS, says that people are often hired as 'independent contractors' with considerably less legal protection than employees.  For instance, independent contractors do not receive award wages, superannuation, and have few legal remedies for unfair or unlawful terminations.  Mr Horn notes that within industries such as trade and transport the assumption that workers are independent contractors is higher.  In these industries workers often supply their own uniform, tools and ABN, though the preceding list is indicative of an independent contractor, it is by no means conclusive.

Unpaid workers are left with little recourse but to seek claims through VCAT, a course which is often restricted due to the lack of information available about the 'employer'.  Mr Horn observes sites such as Gumtree should require comprehensive identifying information from those who advertise for workers. People looking for work on sites such as Gumtree should check the details of prospective employers prior to work, such as whether the business is registered, and that the advertiser's address is correct.

SMLS has seen a significant increase in people seeking advice for unpaid services that they have provided via Gumtree contact.  Our clients are usually effected by compounding attributes of disadvantage, such as being from a non-English speaking background.
SMLS see all clients initially through a drop-in service or at our outreach programs.  We will provide ongoing assistance to clients who meet our criteria guidelines.

SMLS provides Employment Law appointments every Wednesday from 9:30am.  People who are experiencing issues relating to employment law may call reception to make a booking: (03) 9545 7400  

Springvale Monash legal Service provides community legal education (CLE) as a way to increase our community's knowledge of, and confidence in, the Australian legal system.  Community development approaches are a key component of community legal education, which works to demystify legal processes and makes the law accessible for everyone in our community.  We see it as inherent to the successful development of a society in which all people have the capacity to enjoy thier basic human rights.  Through our connections with various communities and organisations, we aim to respond to the issues affecting community members in Melbourne's South East.

The community development worker has seen a marked increase in the requests for information relating to driving laws, common driving offences, and motor vehicle accidents.  We delivered a number of programs to different community groups on the topic.  One such program ran in collaboration with the Refugee Action Programs of both Springvale Community Aid and Advice Bureau and the Southern Migrant Resource Centre.  The program, tailored specifically for women, ran over three weeks, addressing, amongst other things, motor vehicle registration, vehicle purchasing and insurance, driving laws, and driving tests. The program culminated in each attendee receiving three free driving lessons with RACV in Noble Park. 

SMLS has also recently been awarded a grant to produce a multilingual resource and deliver legal education workshops on what to do in the event of a motor vehicle accident.  The resource will be compact and easy to carry, providing information relating to your rights and responsibilities after a vehicular accident.     
For more information on the range of community legal education workshops we can deliver, please call Kei Judd on (03) 9545 7400 or email: 

SMLS membership is worthwhile, rewarding and free.  To become a member please click on the link and fill out the attached membership application form.
Copyright © 2015, Springvale Monash Legal Service, All rights reserved.
South East Justice, Issue 1, September, 2015

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