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35 YEARS OF KINGSFORD LEGAL CENTRE


In 1981 KLC opened our doors to the public – no-one really expected that the Centre would survive past its first few years, but here we are in 2016 and 35 years old. This edition of the ebulletin celebrates our achievements over that time and it also recognises and thanks our friends and supporters. Here’s to 35 more years!

35 Achievements- KLC History Project website

KLC staff, students, volunteers and pro bono partners have achieved some great milestones over those 35 years. So we decided to cherry pick 35 achievements and put them on a timeline, in a website. In casework we highlight some major cases including the Joy Williams stolen generation matter and the Eileen Waugh ‘Battered Wife Defence’; we celebrate the commencement of our incredible relationship with Freehills with the first secondee solicitor attending the Centre in 1992. We look back on our work in community legal education including our partnership work on the DIY Discrimination toolkit (still in publication today) and the commencement of our hugely popular community workers series. Check out the website here.


 

35th Anniversary Celebration

On 27th October  KLC had a drinks party for our friends and supporters. UNSW Australia President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs and Member for Kingsford Smith Matt Thistlethwaite addressed the party and spoke about the importance of the university engaging with the local community and the important role KLC has played in our local area. It was great to catch up with students, ex-secondees, volunteers, collleagues and friends without whom KLC would never had made it to 35.


 

 

Clinical Legal Education Guide 2016-17

Launched at 35th Party
 

The twelfth edition of the Clinical Legal Education Guide to courses offered in Australian Universities was launched at KLC’s 35th drinks party. This publication lists clinical legal education courses offered in Australian Universities. Embedding experiential education into law schools’ curricula is the challenge for clinical academics and practitioners into the future. It is great to see more and more law schools around the country emphasising experiential learning and hands-on clinical legal education within their curricula. Hard copies of the guide available by emailing us at: legal@unsw.edu.au or on our website here.


 

Volunteer Solicitors

Currently, KLC has a roster of 58 volunteer solicitors – who each commit to coming into the Centre for around 4 to 5 hours per fortnight. At a very, very conservative estimate ($100 per hour) this generous commitment value adds around $700,000 to our service per year. These solicitors and barristers, who work hard all day, whilst juggling the usual family/work/life balance, have made the decision to squeeze that 4 or 5 hours per fortnight to give back and help our disadvantaged community members. Many of those volunteers have been coming in for 5, 10 and in some cases, over 20 years. They are incredible and are the backbone of our Centre and we are really proud of the quality of the service that they provide. So, at this 35th anniversary point, we want to say a huge thankyou to all of our vols, past and present – you are all unsung heroes!!

Herbert Smith Freehills

Since 1992 Herbert Smith Freehills have provided KLC with a full time secondee solicitor. This is an incredible commitment and one that we value highly. The solicitors who come to KLC for a 6 month  secondment  are committed, hardworking and become involved in every aspect of our work – from advice and casework, community legal education, community events and teaching our students.  They are of a high quality and we always ask them to stay on our volunteer roster after they finish their secondment. To commit to the secondee program for over 24 years is a testament to Herbert Smith Freehills’ extensive pro bono commitment (of which we are a part of a suite of services). The 35th gives us the welcome  opportunity to publicly thank them on behalf of our clients for their sustained generosity.

Farewell to Kaleesha Morris

KLC's Aboriginal Access Worker

We were very sad to farewell our Aboriginal Access Worker since 2012, Kaleesha Morris, in October.  Kaleesha is moving to an organisation called Empowered Communities based in Redfern, which works with the Aboriginal communities of both Redfern & La Perouse.
She has accepted the project officer position there and will be supporting the Aboriginal alliances of both communities to work together to develop and advance a regional development strategy for working productively with the Government and other stakeholders. It’s a great opportunity for Kaleesha to contribute and to continue to grow professionally so we are all delighted for her. We wish Kaleesha well in this next step in her career and thank her for her hard work for KLC and our clients and students. We are delighted that Kaleesha has agreed to join KLC’s management committee.

Just Reinvest Youth Forum

The Just Reinvest Youth Forum , organised by Kaleesha Morris in collaboration with Just Reinvest NSW went ahead to a full house on 6th October.  There was a great turn up of young people and people wanting to learn more about this important social justice issue. It was a great combination of information and good speakers, testimonials of experience from La Perouse, video clips from Bourke and rap performance and questions. 

Community Legal Education Round-up

It was another incredibly busy month for CLE at KLC.  In October:-
  • KLC’s Family Law students gave a presentation to family dispute resolution workers at Catholic Care on dealing with debts on 19 October. 
  • Our community law students presented to Years 9 and 10 commerce students at Matraville High on employment rights on 18 October. 
  • Community law students did a presentation at Eastlakes with South East Community Connect on debt on 20 October
  • Family Law students gave a presentation on domestic violence to Bondi Beach Cottage workers on 24 October
  • On 28 October Dianne Anagnos addressed the Greek Lawyers Association on bullying and Harassment
  • On  26 October Family Law students gave a presentation to local community workers on DV Issues and Update
  • On 27 October Dianne addressed grandparents at a forum organised by Randwick Council, Kooloora, The Deli and The Junction.  Di spoke about the services KLC can provide grandparents and also outlined the work Legal Aid NSW does in this area.

STOP PRESS – KLC Finalist For AFR Education Awards

KLC’s partnership with Kooloora Community Centre has been recognised as a finalist in the Community Engagement category for the above awards. This nomination reflects the close and respectful relationship between the wonderful Kooloora mob and KLC. It acknowledges the effectiveness of this partnership in teaching students about justice issues for the underprivileged. Students really enjoy going to Kooloora and the Kooloora community are always very generous in taking the time to speak to them about the issues affecting their community.

Law Reform and Policy Work

KLC has made two submissions to enquiries in October. The first  was to the NSW government’s enquiry on sharing of intimate images without consent and the second was a submission to FACS on homelessness. All KLC law reform submissions are available on our website here.

KLC & University of South Australia Admin
Benchmarking Clinic Exchange

Julie Watt, the clinical administrator from UNISA clinic visited KLC for 3 days from 24 October to benchmark our respective clinics administrative processes. In November KLC Front Office Manager Roselle Nunes will be travelling to Adelaide to experience UNISA’s clinic.
These exchanges are extremely fruitful in improving systems around students in the clinical setting.  It also establishes networks so that improvements and innovations can be shared quickly throughout the sector.  It was a pleasure to host Julie and we all look forward to working closely with UNISA into the future.

Anti-Poverty Week Bake Sale

KLC ran its annual bake sale to raise awareness of the work of grassroots community organisations in alleviating poverty. Due to stellar work from Roselle Nunes and students Michael Plibersek, Patrick Tighe and Jordano Rodriquez the stall raised $1000 for the Kooloora Community Centre. Thanks to all that baked and bought on the day.



Spotlight on KLC Director, Anna Cody

Associate Professor Anna Cody has worked at KLC, on and off, for nearly 20 years.  She has undertaken a number of roles in that time from student, solicitor, principal solicitor to her current position Director. In this special 35th edition we thought it would be good to put the spotlight on Anna to talk about some memorable KLC achievements.
 
You were involved in Australia’s first Stolen Generation case, which was ultimately unsuccessful in the High Court.  What are your memories of that important matter?
 
I remember hours spent talking to Joy Williams, firstly in the back garden of the old Kingsford Legal Centre office while she smoked and I asked her questions about what happened during her life, and then meeting with her in her house in Wollongong.  She was such a fiery, intelligent, political woman who was deeply inspiring to me, a relatively young lawyer.  I remember her challenging the various students she worked with on the file to ‘learn from me! Take notes!’ and she was absolutely right.  And I remember my deep disillusionment with the NSW Government who never settled the case and who fought it tooth and nail, ultimately winning the case but through that continuing the grave injustice which they had committed.

You have always had a passion for women’s issues and in particular domestic violence law reform.  What has changed since the Eileen Waugh ‘Battered Wife’ case in the 80s?
 
 A lot has changed.  I was very heartened by recent statistics released by the Bureau of Crime Statistics showing how AVOs are effective for reducing domestic violence.  The range of initiatives which have been introduced such as women’s safety planning, court assistance schemes and some public education about domestic violence are all great.  One recent change which went in the other direction was the funding cuts to Women’s refuges which had built an expertise in working with women experiencing domestic violence over decades.

Clinical legal education has also come a long way since you began your career – how do you remain enthusiastic about this type of teaching?
 
Clinical legal education is constantly developing and changing. UNSW has always been at the forefront of developing new ways of integrating clinical methods across the law curriculum. It is an incredibly rewarding methodology because I get to form intensive relationships with students and see their eyes being opened to law in action while developing their critical analysis of the law and legal system.  It relies on close team work between staff and students with all the richness and challenge that involves. It’s an exciting as the University embraces its 2025 strategy to become even more deeply engaged with the community and equity and diversity initiatives.

KLC is facing significant funding cuts next year, how do you think it will affect our clients?

The funding cliff facing all community legal centres is severe. Centres across Australia have had their funding cut by 30%. Kingsford will have to reduce its community service as we cannot keep providing the high level service we do with such a big reduction in our funding. The Productivity Commission recommended a $200 million injection of funding to meet legal need in the community.  Cuts of 30% to community legal centres goes in the wrong direction and will harm women leaving domestic violence, people with housing problems or issues at work.  We hope the Australian government reverses its decision before it takes effect in July 2017.
Copyright © Kingsford Legal Centre 2016
Address: Kingsford Legal Centre, F8-003, UNSW, 2052 
Telephone: (+61 2) 9385 9566
Email: legal@unsw.edu.au
 UNSW ABN 57 195 873 179
CRICOS Provider No: 00098G.

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KINGSFORD LEGAL CENTRE · F8-003 · UNSW · Sydney, NSW 2052 · Australia

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