We provide free legal services including advice, casework, information, education and referral. Our focus is to help residents of Banyule, however, depending on our capacity we can sometimes help residents of Nillumbik.
We target our assistance to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of our community and some of our services have particular eligibility requirements, including that you possess a current Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card.
We have guidelines about what areas we can help with. Below is a list of areas of law we can help with.
Tenancy – for tenants
Uninsured motor vehicle accidents
Victims of crime compensation
Minor criminal offences
Depending on your legal matter, our capacity, resources and expertise, we may provide advice or casework assistance to eligible clients. Casework assistance can only be provided where there is a reasonable prospect of obtaining a successful outcome.
If we cannot help you directly, we will try to identify a service that can. Sometimes, we may refer you to services within Banyule Community Health, including social work or financial counselling.
Health justice partnership
We believe that access to legal help is an important part in a person’s overall health care and that improved social justice supports the health of the community.
As a part of Banyule Community Health, we can connect you with the health and social support services offered here.
To ensure you receive holistic assistance, with your consent, we can also work closely with other workers at Banyule Community Health to help you. Commonly, we work closely with social workers, financial counsellors, general counsellors, alcohol and other drug counsellors and Aboriginal health workers.
La Trobe Student Association Legal Service
In partnership with the La Trobe Student Association we operate a free legal service for La Trobe University students.
Community legal education
We also provide community legal education in partnership with local community organisations. Email any enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Level 2, Agora West Building, Bundoora Campus La Trobe University
Face-to-face or phone appointment can be booked on Monday and Tuesday. Drop-in service available Wednesday 9.30am – 12.30pm.
Fines Clinic – Shop 48, Harmony Centre – Himilo Community Connect
The Mall, Bell Street, West Heidelberg
Drop in service available for fines advice on Friday 2.00pm – 4:00pm.
Contact us on 9450 2002 for more information about our outreach partnerships.
Yarning Up the Law
In 2017, we received a grant from the Victorian Legal Services Board for a 3-year project to improve access to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and improve cultural safety within a generalist mainstream community legal service.
The grant enabled us to employ a lawyer and Aboriginal community development worker to deliver a wrap-around service in partnership with the Banyule Aboriginal Health Team.
A Discussion Paper finalised in July 2020, by the project researcher, Zoe Kaskamanidis, explores the benefits and challenges of such a collaborative service delivery model. It includes important reflections from the staff involved and provides an insight into the value of an integrated health from a staff perspective.
Somali-Australian Lawyer Program
In 2018, with support from Bendigo Bank (East Ivanhoe and Rosanna Branches), the Victorian Multicultural Commission and Banyule Community Health we launched a 2-year pilot program to employ a recently admitted lawyer from the Somali Australian community. This program was extended through 2020/2021 with continued support from Bendigo Bank (East Ivanhoe and Rosanna Branches and Gandel Philanthropy.
By collobarating with local groups like Himilo Community Connect and the Somali Australian Council of Victoria, the program has improved access to our services for Somali Australians.
Work and Development Permit Scheme Pilot Project
The Work and Development Permit (WDP) Scheme allows eligible people to ‘work off’ their unpaid fines by engaging in approved therapeutic, educational or community-based activities.
To support the implementation of the Work and Development Permit Scheme in the Banyule LGA, and in particular at Banyule Community Health, West Heidelberg Community Legal and Gambler’s Help are jointly co-ordinating a pilot project funded by Banyule City Council and Gambler’s Help.
The project aims to improve access to the WDP Scheme by promoting the benefits of the scheme to relevant organisations, providing practical assistance to facilitate their participation and improving community awareness of the Scheme.
When using this service you have a right to:
A safe environment where you are treated with respect and courtesy at all times
Information about our services and a referral when we are not able to help
Accurate and clear information about your matter within a reasonable timeframe
Ask questions and make your own decisions about your legal matter
Have your personal details and information kept in confidence unless you provide your express consent to its release
Access to your records
Ask for an interpreter if English is not your first language
Have a friend or support worker assist you to access our service and in most cases to attend appointments with you
Provide feedback and make a complaint about our service if you believe you have not been treated appropriately
We will be impartial and open with you in considering your case and will provide a realistic assessment of it.
We will observe the highest standards of ethical and professional behaviour. Lawyers are obliged to comply with their professional and legal obligations as legal practitioners.
When using this service you have a responsibility to:
Treat workers with respect and courtesy at all times
Stay in contact with us and let us know if your details change, especially if you change your address, email, or phone number
Attend any appointments you have with us – if you are a client and miss three appointments in a row without at least 24 hours notice we may withdraw our service from you
Give us honest, accurate and complete information about your case
Give us any documents that might be relevant to your case
Tell us if you do not understand something and ask questions if you need things explained in more detail
Give us your instructions when asked
We are a service of Banyule Community Health however all West Heidelberg Community Legal Service client information and details are kept confidentially by our staff and are not available to other Banyule Community Health services or staff.
If you contact our service, we will ask you for some information about yourself and the nature of your legal matter. This information is necessary to run our service and to be able to properly assist you.
You do not have to give us your information but if you do not, we may not be able to assist you.
If we find we need to discuss your information with another service (including other services of Banyule Community Health) or service provider we will only do this if we have your express consent.
We will keep a record of your matter for seven years. Your records will be destroyed after that time unless you ask us to keep them.
You can contact us to request access to your personal information, copies of documents from your legal file or to ask us to correct an error.