Case Study:

Advice to Indu across different legal issues / funding categories

Indu is referred to the Centre by a refuge. She has just left her partner due to domestic violence against her and her children. There has been property damage to their rental property caused by her ex-partner. The landlord has advised he will pursue Indu and her ex-partner for the cost of damage.  The Centre makes one appointment for Indu to see a solicitor – the solicitor’s role is funded 2 days p/w through the state-government Tenants Advice Service, and 3 days p/w as a generalist solicitor. Indu attends and receives advice in those two matters. During the appointment she says – oh also I’m being pursued for all these fines due to travelling on public transport without a ticket.  How would the Centre record the advice it provides?

The general rule “One client/ one solicitor / one session would usually require this to be recorded as one Legal Advice. However because the solicitor needs to report this service provision against two different funding categories, two separate Legal Advices are recorded:

  •     Problem type = Tenancy – Other Parties are landlord and ex-husband (as he is co-tenant)
  •     Problem types = Family law, fines, debt – Other Parties are ex-husband and state government

If the Centre decides to continue assisting Indu as she is financially disadvantaged and/or a priority client, from a legal practice management point of view it would be easiest to manage Indu by recording separate Services for each different problem type, for example:

  •     Tenancy debt to landlord: Centre opens a Representation Other, acts for Indu against the landlord’s claims that she is responsible for cost of repairing damage caused by ex-partner
  •     Debt to be recovered from ex-partner: Centre provides a second Legal Advice and then a facilitated referral to Legal Aid for a grant of aid for family law representation which would also cover the issue of debts owed by the ex-partner to Indu
  •     Fines matter: Centre opens a Representation Other, acts for Indu in using hardship provisions to seek waiver/reduction in fines.