Schedule 7 Magistrates Court Act 1989 Court can: • discharge fine • Adjourn for 6 months • instalment order • payment plan • Refer to Enforcement Review Project
Who can be eligible? • No distinct definition The court includes the following: a diagnosed mental illness neurological disorders a severe physical disability
Infringement Act 2005 • "special circumstances", in relation to a person means— • (a) a mental or intellectual disability, disorder, disease or illness where the disability, disorder, disease or illness results in the person being unable— • (i) to understand that conduct constitutes an offence; or • (ii) to control conduct that constitutes an offence; or
s. 3 (b) a serious addiction to drugs, alcohol or a volatile substance within the meaning of section 57 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 where the serious addiction results in the person being unable— • (i) to understand that conduct constitutes an offence; or • (ii) to control conduct which constitutes an offence; or • (c) homelessness determined in accordance with the prescribed criteria (if any) where the homelessness results in the person being unable to control conduct which constitutes an offence;
Infringement Act Commencement Commencement: • New Infringement system proposed to come into effect 1st July 2006 must before 1st July 2007
Enforcement Review Program • The Enforcement Review Program (ERP) assists people in the community who have ‘special circumstances’ and outstanding Perin fines that are progressing to warrant stage • It enables the court to impose outcomes that reflect the circumstances of the case
How to apply A person who believes they have special circumstances may make an application or a third party may apply on their behalf A third party can be: • parent • case manager or worker • social worker • financial counsellor • legal rep
Letter to Special Circs List 8 April 2003 Co-ordinator Special Circumstances List Melbourne Magistrates' Court Fax: 96287826 Dear ………., Re: Lauren Order Address: DoB … Perin Court Matters We act for Ms Order in relation to a matter before the Perin Court. Please find attached the penalty notice issued for response by 29 April 2003. We write in request this matter be withdrawn. Ms Order's disability disadvantages her in relation to representing himself in this matter. She has attended our office requesting we represent her, because we are specialist in mental health and the law. Ms Order has a diagnosis of schizophrenia. She was first admitted for treatment to the Alfred Hospital in 1943. She instructs that she has also had substance abuse issues in the past and at this time was disorganised and unable to manage her finances. An application was made for the appointment of an Administrator and since 1995 the State Trustees have been acting in this capacity. We have requested a report from Ms Order’s treating practitioner, Dr Fran Smith, to confirm her psychiatric disability. She is on leave but will provide a report upon her return. Ms Order instructs that she was an inpatient of the Alfred Hospital in the Acute Psychiatric Unit in 2002 and that following discharge was having difficulty managing independently. She was unable to manage her budgeting and accrued a number of debts. Her worker form Waiora applied to VCAT for the appointment of an Administrator. Since this time the State Trustees have been acting on her behalf as her Administrator. We attach a signed authority from Ms Order authorising for us to act for him in this matter. We thank you in anticipation of your assistance in this matter. Please contact Vivienne Topp, on 96294422 with any queries. Yours faithfully Vivienne Topp Lawyer Mental Health Legal Centre Inc
Letter to Dr 13 February 2003 Dr Smith Fax: 97007000 Dear Dr Smith Re: Lauren Order We act on behalf of Lauren Order in relation a ticket infringement she incurred for not having a ticket on public transport. She instructs she is often chaotic and disorganised with daily management of her estate, for this reason the StateTrustees have been appointed as her Administrators. She instructs that she receives ongoing treatment and support from you. In this context, we would appreciate your opinion as to: The nature of Lauren Order’s psychiatric disability and opinion as to its severity; Any view you can provide as to a connection between her disability and the fine; in particular to realise the nature of her conduct, or that what she was doing was wrong. Any view on her ability to pay given her limited means and ability to organise the management of such a meagre estate The impact of these circumstances on her mental state. Recommendations as to appropriate future treatment Any other matters you think may be relevant We thank you for your assistance, and invite you to contact Vivienne Topp of our office if you require any further information. Yours faithfully, Vivienne Topp Lawyer Mental Health Legal Centre Inc.
Letter to Client 29 October 2003 Ms Lauren Order Address: Dear Ms Order Re: Perin Court Fines We confirm that we applied to the Perin Court for your fine to be listed in the Enforcement Review list. The matter has been listed for a hearing on 20 November 2003, you will need to attend Court on this day. We confirm that we have told your sister of the listing day, who advised that she will accompany you on the day if you require assistance. The notice says 10 am but we advise you to get there about 9.30. The matter is very straight forward, the Magistrate has a copy of Dr Smith’s report. You may be asked a couple of questions by the Magistrate, you may be asked to sign a bond or agreement that you will not get anymore fines for a set period of time. If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me on 9629 4422. Yours faithfully, Vivienne Topp Lawyer Mental Health Legal Centre Inc.
Amnesty • Fee waiver period 1 Feb to 31 May • Contact Civic Compliance Helpline • Ph: 92008222 Mon – Fri 8-6