Case Study:

Maha v Centrelink

Maha calls a Centre about a debt to Centrelink. The Centre’s volunteer answers the call, and:

  •     Takes Maha’s name and details
  •     Checks to see if they have helped Maha before (no)
  •     Checks to see if the issue involves another person ­ ie do they need to do a conflict check (no)
  •     Makes an appointment for Maha to talk to a caseworker in two week’s time
  •     Asks Maha to send the Centre a copy of all documents they have from Centrelink
  •     Emails Maha a consent form to allow them to talk to Centrelink.  

In CLASS, the Centre creates Maha as a Triage client, and uses Actions to record the work undertaken with Maha to this point.

Maha sends her documents a few days later. A volunteer uses CLASS to convert Maha’s status as a Triage Client to a Client, creates a Legal Task, and attaches the documents to this Task.  

One week before the appointment date, a caseworker reviews Maha’s documents.  They contact Centrelink to check on the current status of the matter, and whether there has been any recent correspondence.  Two days later, Centrelink faxes across some additional documents. The caseworker records the review of documents, communications with Centrelink, and drafting of advice as Actions within the Legal Task, with time recorded.  

At the time of the appointment, the caseworker calls Maha, gets some more information from Maha, and then provides her with advice about her options. This is recorded in CLASS as a Legal Advice (Copy-A-Service is used to save time).  At the same time, the Legal Task is closed.

Scenario 1: Advice and Tasks only

Maha is satisfied with the advice and indicates she doesn’t want to challenge the debt.

The Centre will have provided Maha with one Legal Task and one Legal Advice.

Scenario 2: Ongoing legal support

Maha wants to challenge the debt. The solicitor tells her they will need to review their capacity and get back to her.

The Centre discusses Maha’s matter at the next Casework Meeting. They agree that Maha is capable of disputing the debt with a little bit of help from the Centre.

A solicitor calls Maha and advises that they will provide her with ongoing support to help her challenge the debt through an ARO ­ Internal Review, although they will not represent her. The solicitor follows up the phone call with an email to Maha setting out the same thing.

The Centre opens an Ongoing Legal Support Service (check once decision made as to whether this sits within Other Representation Service or is a separate Service).  The email setting out what they will do for Maha is attached to the new Service. All subsequent interactions between Maha and the Centre are recorded as Actions or file notes within this service.

Scenario 3: Court/Tribunal Representation Service 1

The Centre has been helping Maha challenge Centrelink’s debt. She is unsuccessful in the first stage of the review, but on reviewing the decision, the Centre is convinced that an error has been made.

At the next Casework Meeting, the Centre agrees that they will represent Maha in an appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

The Centre closes the  Ongoing Legal Support Service, and opens a new Court/Tribunal Representation Service. All subsequent interactions between Maha and the Centre are recorded as Actions or file notes within this service.

Scenario 4: Court/Tribunal Representation Service 2

Maha, represented by the Centre, wins the AAT case ­- yay! Unfortunately, Centrelink appeals.

The Centre discusses the case at a casework meeting, agrees there are good grounds for success if they review, and decide to continue representing Maha in the second AAT review. They email Maha and confirm that they will act for her in this second stage of the review. Because this is a different forum, the first Court/Tribunal Representation Service is closed, and a new Court/Tribunal Representation Service is opened (using Copy-A-Service to bring details across). All subsequent interactions between Maha and the Centre are recorded as Actions or file notes within this service.