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Legal aid lawyer quit

10 days before hearing

My legal aid lawyer has sent me a letter saying they cannot represent me anymore. I only just received legal aid about 2 weeks ago so haven't been with them long.
I had hearing on 11/6/15, interim orders having 7 year old daughter stay with him until next hearing on 25/6/15. I have less than two weeks and no lawyer. Have tried several but all pretty much busy. What to do. Do I need to advise ICL, fathers lawyer, court that I currently have no representation? Waiting on request to attend interview for family report. Where will request be sent to?
Have you tried your local community legal service? The exact same thing happened to me shortly before my very first hearing about 9 years ago. I was terrified. The local community legal service helped me, thank god.

Personally, I think its disgusting that Legal Aid lawyers are allowed to drop Legal Aid clients with no notice like that.

Failing that, I'm not sure what you do. Perhaps try calling the Law Helpline in your state for advice.
Funding for Legal Aid is about to suffer  dreadful further cutbacks that will affect more and more people. Even at the moment Legal aid is paid in stages and then only paid if they think the case has merit.

There has to be an actual reason recorded for them dropping you. They wont just say "we wont come" What did they exactly say?

Could it be that they have now received all the information in relation to the case and its a merit thing after the interim orders were made?

Also, if you are awaiting dates for family reports and the like and if your next court date was only a mention. Do you know what it is for?

Nothing i say should be taken as legal advice. I am not a Lawyer. If i help you it is of your own free choice to listen to what i say or not. I do not create documents for you. I do not represent you…. Purple Monkey Dishwasher
The Wolf said

Funding for Legal Aid is about to suffer  dreadful further cutbacks that will affect more and more people.
If it gets cut back any further there wont be much Family Law work done by legal aid. The last news we had was that Legal Aid was ceased for Contravention applications, Final orders and Property matters. Are there more cutback budget announcements?
The Wolf said
Even at the moment Legal aid is paid in stages and then only paid if they think the case has merit.
It is interesting that you raise the merit test. Often we pick up cases that are shocking and where a travesty of justice has occurred, often children deprived of having a relationship with a deserving parent or grandparents. There are many cases that have come across our table that to others look hopeless and untenable. In many of those cases we get a reasonable outcome, some are even outstanding. I would suggest that the test of a case having merit is often more likely to be a test of how "much money will this case take and will it be covered by legal aid funds", rather than a case that needs intensive management and empathy with a deserving parent making a properly crafted application. Remember also that many legal aid cases are farmed out to panel members (private practice) and are not dealt with by legal aid themselves.
The Wolf said
There has to be an actual reason recorded for them dropping you. They wont just say "we wont come" What did they exactly say?
I am aware of the detail on this case and to say legal aid dropped the ball would be an absolute understatement. The solicitor assigned became very busy, the case became very complex and the solicitor assigned got an agent involved. There was no commitment to get to the bottom of things by either.

I don't think I have seen a more despicable performance from a pair of solicitors that should be ashamed of themselves. That is all I have to say about that.
The Wolf said
Could it be that they have now received all the information in relation to the case and its a merit thing after the interim orders were made?
Depending on your interpretation of "merit" it could have been but I think more along the lines of incompetent performance. A complaint may yet be lodged so I will need to wait and see.
The Wolf said
Also, if you are awaiting dates for family reports and the like and if your next court date was only a mention. Do you know what it is for?
The matter was for a second hearing part heard interim orders before a very competent Judge in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. With the proper attention to matters, appropriate paper work, truthful evidence and hard work a good interim orders result was achieved.

This case has one real learning and that is to never give up hope and believe in yourself to get a result that legal aid could never imagine …

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
I agree with everything you say SPCA. The way the merit tests works is all good on paper if you are studying at Uni to prove a point but in the real world the black and white text book approach is causing untold misery for people. The cutbacks are going to make it worse of course.

I suffered horrendously with incompetent legal aid hacks, not so much during my cases but, with all the associated arrests for other things.

One of then actually laughed at me in the cells at parramatta because he knew who i was and said "you're going to jail whist telling me to pee off …he actually said that and said it because i made one comment about him to his manager that was actually trying to help him about 6 months before, he got in trouble for my comment… (don't like or need to talk about my personal situations of the past its not about what i done its about what can be done for others.)

Many congrats on turning this disaster around and taking a bit of control, and well done on securing their interim orders.

Secretary SPCA said
This case has one real learning and that is to never give up hope and believe in yourself to get a result that legal aid could never imagine …
I guess this is why this forum is here and why you people work so hard to help others and….THIS is what people need to know! NEVER give up, NEVER lose hope, NEVER stop working towards your goal. Legal aid outcomes are often less that what is desired anyway . Just because some underfunded departmental hack drops you it DOES NOT mean you do not have a case or merit.

Of course every legal aid officer is not like this but often you form your views based on what you see and experience. Im not even blaming them personally, its just the nature of legal aid work.. 20 cases a day with 5 minutes to spend on each does not bode well for individual involvement.

There is always hope if you can learn and  follow the rules of self representation, do what others tell you to do to the letter and often you can do better than an overworked low level legal aid hack..Its the same if you are self represented, have run out of lawyer money or are being bombarded with accusations from another side.. there is always a way to work an argument to your advantage and just because you are under the hammer does not mean it will not all work out in the end to some degree. NEVER GIVE UP (really, never)



 

Last edit: by The Wolf


Nothing i say should be taken as legal advice. I am not a Lawyer. If i help you it is of your own free choice to listen to what i say or not. I do not create documents for you. I do not represent you…. Purple Monkey Dishwasher
Wolf said
NEVER GIVE UP

I have to disagree, there are some who need to understand when to give up. A prime example are the "Kip's" of this world who believe that fighting the system rather than working within it is the way to go. I have come across far too many who haven't given up and have plainly lost so much.
Dev_MikeT said
Wolf said
NEVER GIVE UP

I have to disagree, there are some who need to understand when to give up. A prime example are the "Kip's" of this world who believe that fighting the system rather than working within it is the way to go. I have come across far too many who haven't given up and have plainly lost so much.

I hear you MikeT.  I do totally agree with you about the rage against the machine boys (it is mostly men i see). From my viewing there are two distinct groups of people trying to change the "system". Those that carry their anger and soapboxing over to fighting fruitless campaigns to get people jailed, set precedents for severe penalties and trying to charge judges with crimes etc   whilst totally ignoring their own shortcomings.

These are the guys who read a family report, don't even look at what is said about themselves, and then soapbox " well they didn't say this about the mum"…..and then there is the  the sensible boys trying to change policy based on hard facts about what children need based on good solid evidence via the correct channels

Never give up on a valid argument backed by good evidence but don't lose everything trying to get what is impossible is probably more apt.  Years of fruitless anger trying to rectify what you see as a wrong by soapboxing ludicrous things that will never happen in a billion years is not worth the life it drains out of you. I know.. ive seen both sides as im sure you have

(bit off topic, sorry)

Nothing i say should be taken as legal advice. I am not a Lawyer. If i help you it is of your own free choice to listen to what i say or not. I do not create documents for you. I do not represent you…. Purple Monkey Dishwasher
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