St kilda legal service law in the community
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ST KILDA LEGAL SERVICE Law in the community . ST KILDA LEGAL SERVICE Law in the community Lawyer – Vanda Hamilton. Community Legal Services – Quick overview.

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ST KILDA LEGAL SERVICE Law in the community

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ST KILDA LEGAL SERVICELaw in the community


Law in the community

Lawyer – Vanda Hamilton

Community Legal Services – Quick overview

  • Community Legal Centres (CLCs) are independently operating not-for-profit, community-based organisations that provide legal services to the public, focussing on the disadvantaged and people with special needs;

  • 200 centres Australia wide;

  • Funded primarily by state governments, with some federal and philanthropic funding;

  • Mostly staffed by volunteers, and also rely on pro bono assistance from the profession.

St Kilda Legal Service and drug outreach lawyer position

  • St Kilda Legal Service one of the oldest in Victoria;

  • Staffed by a principal solicitor, adminstrator, community legal education lawyer, drug outreach lawyer, family violence lawyer and volunteer co-ordinator. Only the administration and drug outreach position are full-time.

  • Staffed by volunteer lawyers three nights a week. Volunteer lawyers and para-legals also work during the day.

Drug outreach lawyer

  • Funding for the position obtained in 2003 pursuant to identification of five drug hot spots in Victoria, St Kilda being one;

  • Fitzroy Legal Service has a similar position. These are the only two such positions in Australia;

  • St Kilda position funded to work with people with drug and alcohol issues and the sex work industry;

  • Outreach model means that DOL can assist people who might otherwise find it difficult to access legal services;


Sacred Heart Mission


Salvation Army Bridge Programme

Windana Drug and Alcohol Programme

Hanover Accomodation Services

Benefits of working relationship with RhED and police

  • Unlike most other lawyers, DOL is ‘embedded’ in the community.

  • Also unlike most other criminal defence lawyers, DOL works with both offenders and victims.

  • RhED and DOL - symbiotic relationship

  • DOL and police – A relationship which has developed over the years, and has been facilitated by changes to the way St Kilda Police work.

  • Relationships between lawyers and police – especially community lawyers – can be fraught;

  • Good relationships between police and DOL beneficial – whilst understanding at times will be tensions;

  • Level of trust between police and DOL helps facilitate better outcomes for clients in a range of areas – whether criminal clients or victims;

  • Essential that relationships with RhED and DOL are supported and driven by senior and managing officers at St Kilda.

Problem solving

  • DOL committed to problem solving model;

  • Therefore partnerships within community vital;

  • Importance of police as first responders to client issues acknowledged;

  • Working collaboratively for both clients and the community – an acknowledgment that we live and work in community and that community safety and amenity is important.

  • Contact details:

    Vanda Hamilton

    (03) 8598 6609

    0401 095 261

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