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2012 Archived NLAF News

Boarding House Law Reform

The NSW State Government's Boarding Houses Bill has passed through both Houses of theParliament. The Act has not commenced operation yet. But it is understood that the Government intends for it to commence 1 January 2013.For more information about the Act visit: http://lists.tenants.org.au/res/Boarding_Houses_Act_2.pdf Under the Act, residents of registrable boarding houses will have,for the first time, an enforceable entitlement to written agreements and written receipts. They'll also have, for the first time,agreements that must comply with certain basic occupancy principles. These include entitlements to premises that are in a reasonable state of repair, to know the house rules before moving in, to quiet enjoyment, to know why and how the occupancy may be ended, including how much notice is to be given, and to be given reasonable notice of termination. They also include safeguards against penalty terms and unfair utility charges, and a limit on bonds to two weeks' rent. Residents will also have, for the first time, straight-forward access to dispute resolution in the Consumer, Trader and TenancyTribunal. The Act also establishes a Boarding Houses Register and directs councils to inspect premises for compliance with building and fire safety requirements. > More

Survey on legal need in NSW launched - 25 October 2012

A landmark survey by the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW was launched today by the NSW Attorney General, the Honourable Greg Smith.The Legal Australia-Wide Survey (LAW Survey) provides the first comprehensive quantitative assessment across Australia of an extensive range of legal needs on a representative sample of the population. It examines the nature of legal problems, the pathways to their resolution, and the demographicgroups that struggle with the weight of their legal problems. > More

National Law Firm Directory for Pro Bono Referrals - 24 August 2012

The National Pro Bono Resource Centre has created the National Law Firm Directory for Pro Bono Referrals. The Directory has been created for those seeking to make a pro bono referral to an Australian law firm. > More

Anti-Poverty Week 2012 - 22 August 2012

Poverty and hardship affect more than a million Australians, with a billion people worldwide also affected. Anti-Poverty Week aims to strengthen public understanding of poverty and hardship and to encourage research, discussion and action to address these problems. It will take place between the 14 and 20 October 2012. > More

National Bulk Debt Project continues - 23 July 2012

The National Bulk Debt Project is helping vulnerable Australians on very low (or no) incomes to ensure they can use their income for food, shelter and household bills by negotiating bulk waivers.For more information see the National Bulk Debt Website www.bulkdebt.org > More

Prisoners Legal Info Portal - access to the content of the portal is now available

The Legal Info Portal is an intranet site for NSW prisoners about the law, legal systems and legal problems. The Portal was installed on the offender computer network and rolled out across correctional centres in NSW.It is now possible to access the content of the Legal Info Portal from the Corrective Services website. > More

Boarding house law reform - new draft bill released - 5 July 2012

The NSW Government recently released a draft bill to reform the regulation of boarding houses. Accompanying the draft bill is a position paper which sets out the NSW Government's concerns about the current regulatory framework and how thedraft bill seeks to address these concerns.Comments and submissions on the draft bill are due by Friday 10 August 2012 , > More

Human trafficking in Australia - research and reports released

The Australian Institute of Crimonology released a research paper and monitoring report about human trafficking. The reports are available at www.aic.gov.au. > More

Family Violence Specialist Courts - NSW parliamentary research paper - 2 July 2012

The issue of family violence specialist courts is considered in this e-brief produced by the NSW Parliamentary Research Service. > More

2012 Justice Awards - nominations closing - 22 June 2012

Established in 1999, the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW's annual Justice Awards recognise the contributions that individuals and organisations have made to improving access to justice in NSW, particularly for socially and economically disadvantaged people. > More

Legal Aid NSW Civil Law Conference - 28&29 June 2012

Legal Aid NSW is holding its annual Civil Law Conference on 28 and 29 June 2012.

Bail Reform - NSW Law Reform Commission report on bail released

The NSW Attorney General has tabled the NSW Law Reform Commission's report on the NSW Bail Act. The Commission's recommendations include:*Asking courts, when considering bail applications, to take account of an individual's health and their ability to prepare for their trial. * Asking courts to take into account an individual's mental health illness and whether they are from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background. * Allowing people under the age of 18 to make repeat applications for bail. The NSW Government says it will examine the Commission's report and respond to its recommendations by the end of this year. > More

ACMA committs to Fair Calls for All - 26 April 2012

The communications regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), has committed to putting in place new arrangements so that from 1 January 2015 calls to 1800/13 numbers from mobile phones will be free or the cost of a local call. > More

Legal Aid NSW is running Fines Days across NSW

Legal Aid NSW is running a series of Fines Days across NSW to help people who have accumulated debts to the SDRO. Legal Aid NSW Lawyers will be providing advice and assistance to deal with fines and other debt problems on the spot and for free.

NSW Law Reform Commission releases report on Penalty Notice System

The NSW Law Reform Commission Report 132 Penalty Notices reviews and makes recommendations in relation to the penalty notice system in NSW.Of particular note are the chapters and recommendations about young people (Ch12); people with mental health and cognitive impairments (Ch13); and people in custody (Ch17). > More

Registrations are open for the CLC NSW State Conference - 29 March 2012

The CLC NSW State Conference is on 9 and 10 May 2012 in Sydney.Keynote speakers and presenters will include:•The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG•Ronald Merkel QC•Rodney Croome AM•Elizabeth Broderick•The Hon. Greg Smith SC MP, NSW AG•Annie Parkinson•Tammy Solonec•Helen McGowan > More

CLE opportunity: applications open for Human Rights Education Grants - 29 March 2012

Australia's Human Rigths Framework - Education Grants Program provides small grants from $5,000 - $40,000 per year to community organisations to deliver practical grassroots human rights education projects for vulnerable groups across the community.The Education Grants Applicant Program Guidelines and Application forms are available at: www.ag.gov.au/hrgrants. Information about the Australia's Human Rights Framework is available at: www.ag.gov.au/humanrightsframework. Applications are due by Wednesday 9 May 2012.

New research and advocacy tool about social need now available - 29 March 2012

The National Pro Bono Resource Centre in collaboration with ACOSS has developed a directory of reports and submissions relating to social needs. It is available at www.socialneeds.net.au > More

NSW Courts and Tribunal Services launch new website - 27 February 2012

The new website aims to help court users resolve enquires more efficiently, without the need to attend a registry. It provides comprehensive, up-to-date and user-friendly information about courts and tribunals, the court process and alternative dispute resolution options. It also provides the public with information on how to obtain free legal advice and links to other support service websites. > More

VLAF hosts forum on cultural competency and working with CALD clients

The Victorian Legal Assistance Forum hosted a forum to examine the issue of cultural compentency in relation to service delivery for clients from diverse cultural backgrounds who have limited or no understanding of the Australian legal system. > More

Fair Trading NSW issues advice for flood affected tenants and others

Fair Trading NSW has issued a media release advising tenants, landlords and agents about their rights and responsibilities in relation to flood damage.For more information see Fair Trading NSW website: http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/Tenants_and_home_owners.htmlIn addition, NLAF has an online list of legal resources for victims of natural disasters. The list includes links to resources about tenancy and renting. > More

Family Violence and Commonwealth Laws - ALRC Final Report released

The Australian Law Reform Commission released the final report of its Inquiry into Family Violence. The ALRC also produced a summary report and a series of fact sheets that provide practical examples of how the ARLC recommendations, if implemented, might affect parts of the community. > More