Consumer Credit Legal Service (WA) Inc. is a statewide service providing free legal advice and/or representation in the areas of banking, finance, credit; and consumer goods and services. The organisation provides free assistance through the telephone advice line (08 9221 7066), casework and community legal education.
The Hon. Chief Justice Wayne Martin AC, CCLSWA Principal Solicitor Faith Cheok, WABA President Matthew Howard SC
Law Week 2016 saw volunteers at community legal centres recognised for their efforts in advancing social justice. On Monday 16 May 2016 at an event called “Volunteers & Social Justice” held at the offices of Norton Rose Fulbright Perth, volunteer paralegals and interpreters were formally acknowledged for their contribution. The event was co-hosted by Consumer Credit Legal Service WA (CCLSWA), The Humanitarian Group and Mental Health Law Centre. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of WA, The Honourable Wayne Martin AC was the guest of honour.
His Honour, Chief Justice Wayne Martin spoke on the importance of community legal centres and their volunteers in facilitating access to justice, particularly to “the missing middle” section of Australian society: those who are not poor enough to qualify for Legal Aid but not affluent enough to afford paid legal representation. His Honour highlighted the enormity of unmet legal needs and the contribution by volunteers, but also mentioned the mutual benefits for both the community legal centres and their volunteers.
A volunteer each from CCLSWA, The Humanitarian Group and Mental Health Law Centre shared their experiences, all of which were enriching, difficult, personal, and extremely satisfying. Edward Souti summed up his time working on the CCLSWA telephone advice line: “As law students, we go from reading textbooks and cases, to seeing exactly how big an impact the law can have on people’s lives. Working on our telephone advice line has easily been the most eye-opening and rewarding experience.”
Helen Pearce, CEO of The Humanitarian Group spoke movingly about the increasing importance of volunteers, particularly in the climate of funding cuts. Helen equated the dollar figure of her centre’s use of pro bono assistance to more than $1 million. Helen then introduced Ali Khan, a volunteer at The Humanitarian Group, who has experienced a similar background to the clients of The Humanitarian Group. He gave an inspiring speech about his journey from refugee, to law student, to volunteer at The Humanitarian Group as both an interpreter and paralegal, and now to a lawyer at a commercial firm specialising in Immigration Law. Ali credits The Humanitarian Group for leading him to work in an area that he enjoys and from which he draws great satisfaction.
Annaliese Lockhart, a volunteer at Mental Health Law Centre, has a similar experience. Annaliese is grateful for the diversity of legal work she gets from volunteering.
Faith Cheok, Principal Solicitor of CCLSWA, concluded the formalities. Faith paid tribute to the contribution of the volunteers, pro bono barristers and law firms, ending anecdotally with a quip about the anti-aging properties of having volunteers as colleagues.
Guests and volunteers alike stayed long to mingle after the formalities. The night was made possible by the generosity of Norton Rose Fulbright.
CCLSWA volunteer paralegal Mitchell Coles, Ashurst Counsel Lawrence Lee, Law Society of WA President Elizabeth Needham, CCLSWA solicitor Prachi Aggarwal and Ashurst lawyer Zoe Wiszniewska.
CLE Co-ordinator and PJP fellow Megan Faller and volunteer paralegal Eamonn Bochat.
2016 Law Week Event: CLE session at Southern River Community College
Each year, Law week provides an opportunity for legal professionals to engage with the community to share knowledge about the law and to promote an open, independent judicial system. CCLSWA is committed to financial literacy education initiatives and community legal education. Once again during Law Week, CCLSWA, and Gosnells Community Legal Centre spoke to Southern River College’s Year 10 students. We talked about consumer rights; mobile phones; cyber-bullying and sexting. The students learnt much through active engagement.
Financial literacy sessions
Apart from our session at the Southern River Community College, CCLSWA also recently delivered financial literacy sessions to high school students at North Lake Senior Campus and Mandurah Baptist College. At the beginning of this year, our PJP fellow law graduate Megan Faller re-vamped CCLSWA's financial literacy programme. Megan devised an improved, interactive format, which engages the students even more. The results have been very pleasing.
If you wish to book CCLSWA for one of our engaging legal education sessions or financial literacy sessions, email us at email@example.com
Perth Law Careers Fair
Volunteer paralegals Isabelle Zekulich and Edward Souti represented CCLSWA at the 2016 Perth Law Careers Fair held at the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre on 10 May 2016. Isabelle and Edward promoted the volunteer programme at CCLSWA and highlighted the practical legal skills and experience gained through the commitment. To find out more about volunteering at CCLSWA or to apply, visit our website.