Kingsford Legal Centre
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Welcome to the December issue of the Kingsford Legal Centre e-Bulletin, our last edition for the year.

Law Reform- Racial Vilification

Debate around racial vilification law is once again intensifying. In November Anna Cody and Maria Nawaz continued KLC’s work in the area by publishing a piece for the Gilbert+ Tobin Centre for Public Law’s AUSPUBLAW blog, which provided a valuable ‘front line’ perspective. Highlighting the experience of KLC’s clients, they argued that the current laws strike an appropriate balance between freedom of speech and freedom from discrimination, and should not be repealed or weakened. In particular, the piece highlighted that the racial vilification laws are rarely used, set a high threshold and that courts have consistently interpreted the law in a restrained manner, with the public interest in mind. The blog post is available here

KLC will also be making a submission on this issue to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights' inquiry into Freedom of Speech in Australia in December. 

AdminNet Recipient in Excellence in Environmental Sustainability Award at the UNSW Staff Excellence Award

KLC is proud to acknowledge that Roselle Nunes was recognised along with her AdminNet colleagues in the above award.  The hard working team of volunteers on the UNSW AdminNet Committee have made a significant contribution to the sustainable culture at UNSW over the years by helping UNSW reuse and re-task all manner of items which would otherwise find their way into landfill.  Well done Roselle and all of the AdminNet team!

Award Nominations

KLC was thrilled to be shortlisted for the AFR Higher Education Awards in the Community Engagement Category.  Our nomination was recognition of our partnership with Kooloora Community Centre and the clinical teaching opportunities this presents – for both our students and the community.  We didn’t win the award but were honoured to be shortlisted.  Congratulations to Queensland University of Technology for their National Exceptional Teaching for Disadvantaged Schools (NETDS) program – they are worthy winners.

KLC Director Anna Cody was shortlisted for the AHRC Human Rights Award in the Law category.  The quality of the shortlist is incredible so again, it is a great honour to be a part of this cohort.  The awards ceremony is on 9 December – keep an eye on our social media for the results.

KLC’s Family Law and Domestic Violence Community Education Clinic Update

November marked the conclusion of yet another successful semester for the Family Law and Domestic Violence Community Education Clinic, which provides a unique opportunity for student to develop and deliver community education on legal issues around domestic violence, including debt, tenancy and AVOs.
Students undertaking this course have the benefit of being supervised by Natalie Ross, one of the sector’s most experienced and skilled community educators. Under her guidance, Semester 2 students delivered;
  • a presentation to family dispute resolution workers at Catholic Care on dealing with debts on 19 October. 
  • a presentation on domestic violence to Bondi Beach Cottage workers on 24 October
Students really value the course and the skills they develop are extremely useful in their careers. 
Some of their comments about the course include:-
 “The reason for this email is to thank each one of you for making my experience at KLC an amazing one. Thank you for being so patient and always being so supportive. I had an amazing time with you all and hope to come back to KLC in the near future but volunteering as a solicitor.” 
“It's definitely given me a more dynamic and holistic understanding of the realities of law and policy”
For students considering applying for this course, more details are available on our website.

Funding Update

In early December community legal centres will be told of the funding cut they are likely to receive commencing in the 2017/18 funding year.  As reported in previous e-bulletins, KLC is anticipating a major cut in its Federal funding and this will result in a commensurate cut in our services to our community. Our sector has been investigated, weighed up, inquired into, and researched so many times over the past 5 – 10 years and the result is always the same – that this sector is extremely good value for money for the community as a whole and that we are extremely underfunded.  In fact, if you put together the costs of all of these Inquiries it probably would be far more than the funding cuts we are expecting this time around!  In 2017 we, as a sector, will be running an extensive campaign advocating for an increase in the size of the funding pie, well beyond the decreases we are expecting.  We will be calling on all of our stakeholders to support us in this work next year – we will keep you posted.

Volunteer Solicitors Dinner

In December we held our annual volunteer solicitor dinner to celebrate and thank our brilliant volunteers.  The paddle winner this year was one of our longest serving and most committed volunteers – Dave McMillan.  Dave won ‘The Model Advice Award’ for managing to find at least 9 separate legal considerations in every client advice.  Congratulations Dave – a most worthy winner!  This award is a tradition of KLC and is given to the volunteer who does the most noteworthy quirky, silly thing in the preceding year.  Thanks to all of our wonderful volunteer solicitors: rest up over the summer because next year is going to be as busy and unpredictable as this one!

Learning and Teaching Seminar on ‘Reflective Pieces”

In October KLC Director Anna Cody participated in the UNSW Learning and Forum - Toward 2025: Inspiring Learning.  Anna talked about her use of reflective pieces and peer to peer feedback in our community law courses The presentation described the elements of reflective practice which students learn in their clinical courses, and incorporated student voices, through video clips to discuss the value of this component of their learning.

Spotlight on Jordano Vasquez Rodriguez
ex-student, current PLTer

After the semester ends, if we are lucky, some of our best students hang around for the summer to knock off some of their practical legal training hours. Jordano Vasquez Rodriguez decided to do some PLT with us this year and he has been a real asset to the Centre.  He works really hard, is really competent and is a pleasure to work with.  He is definitely one we would like to see pursue a career in our sector but we are trying hard not to be too pushy on this front.  We asked Jordano a few questions about himself and the KLC student experience.

Why did you study law – what drew you to it?
A slightly clichéd response, but Atticus Finch drove me to study law. I perceived a strong sense of integrity, resilience and morality in the profession and respected that. I also felt the problem solving aspect would be engaging and stimulating.

How did you find the clinical experience at KLC?
Very worthwhile. I did the Employment Law Clinic. The matters were interesting and the work was diverse and engaging. There was a personal sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when a matter would be resolved and the client was happy, especially when that client had been pretty hard done by. I learnt a lot about practical aspects of the law as well as substantive law and felt it was a great way to get practical skills at Uni.

Was there any particularly defining thing that resonated for you about the experience?
The opportunities outside of the centre, such as participating in conciliation conferences at the Anti-Discrimination Board, the excursion to the Fair Work Commission and meeting a Commissioner there, and excursions to Kooloora Community Centre.

Are you finding the PLT experience different  to the clinical experience?
With fewer students around, I get more work, which keeps me busier and more engaged. I am also no longer solely focusing on Employment Law matters so the range of matters I get to work on now is wider. The opportunity to come in for more than two days a week if I am able also gives me greater visibility into the work KLC does and the matters we’re working on.

What’s the career dream for you – where to from here?
The dream? Probably my own legal practice. But that’s way down the line. As long as the work I’m doing is engaging and intellectually stimulating and the people I work with are fun, I will be happy. 

Holiday Season
closure information

  • Last advice session of 2016: Thursday 15 December 2016.
  • Front office closes 12pm, Friday 16 December 2016.
  • Front office opens 9am, Tuesday 3 January 2017.
  • First advice session of 2017: Tuesday night 17 January 2017.
  • First employment advice session:  Thursday night 19 January 2017.
Copyright © Kingsford Legal Centre 2016
Address: Kingsford Legal Centre, F8-003, UNSW, 2052 
Telephone: (+61 2) 9385 9566
 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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