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Report to NLAF - August 2009

The Working Group on Access to Justice for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Communities met on 2 June 2009

Progress Reports

Liverpool Legal Access Project

The NLAF CALD Liverpool Sub-Working Group – also known as the Liverpool Legal Access Project (LLAP) - last met on the 24 June 2009

The aim of the project is to develop an interagency cooperation model by focusing on improving access to legal assistance services in two communities. The communities selected represent an established (Fijian-Indian) and newly arrived (Iraqi-Mandean) communities in Liverpool.

Progress since the last report includes:

  • Consultation summary report from focus group with Liverpool Migrant and Refugee Interagency on 20 April 2009 has been prepared and distributed to NLAF CALD Working Group members. Report will help inform possible future strategies.
  • LLAP provided a brief presentation to Iraqi-Mandean about free legal assistance on 16 June 2009. Presentation was part of a broader community consultation hosted by Liverpool Migrant Resource Centre (MRC). Liverpool MRC to share consultation findings with NLAF CALD Working Group.
  • Principal Solicitor, South West Sydney Legal Centre attended Sydney West Legal Services Group meeting with the view of possibly establishing a similar community-legal interagency in Liverpool.
  • NLAF CALD Working Group members participated in Liverpool Refugee Week Street Festival by jointly hosting an information stall on 19 June 2009.

NLAF Blacktown CALD Group

The NLAF CALD Blacktown Sub-Working Group – also known as the NLAF Blacktown CALD Group – last met on the 26 May 2009.

  • Currently in discussion with the University of Western Sydney (UWS) School of Law about establishing a pilot court support project at Blacktown Local Court. Three Sudanese-background law students have expressed interest in participating in project. The Community Restorative Centre (CRC) has provided training to the volunteer students, free of charge.
  • Discussions are also underway with UWS about providing a free legal information and basic legal representation service to Sudanese community members attending Blacktown Court. This service is being considered under the umbrella of the new UWS Parramatta Justice Precinct Legal Clinic. The Court is looking to the Community Relations Commission (CRC) for possible support with provision of on-site interpreters.
  • The Group’s Legal Referral Guide - a list of legal resources for the Sudanese Community - has been added to the NLAF website. Listed resources are also being indexed on LawAccess Online, which has now been updated to include new and emerging community languages such as Dinka.

Immigration Sub Working Group

A new NLAF CALD sub-working group has been established to look at the way in which legal information is provided to newly arrived migrants and refugees in NSW and how this process might possibly be improved. This reflects the concern that some newly arrived immigrants are being caught up in unfair contracts or in the criminal justice system soon after their arrival in Australia.

  • First meeting took place on 30 July 2009.
  • Working group members includes representatives from: Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), Legal Aid NSW, Law and Justice Foundation, Attorney General’s Department (Diversity Services and LawAccess NSW), Immigration Advice and Rights Centre, Refugee Advice and Casework Service, ACL and PILCH.
  • Next meeting on 23 September 2009.

The next meeting of the NLAF CALD Working Group will take place on 25 August 2009.