Career & Job Opportunities

 

Join the best 

VALS is made up of Victoria’s most committed legal advocates, professionals and support staff who work hard- with each other, our partners and our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and communities- to advance Aboriginal self-determination and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Victoria of all ages.

We know that our people make the difference. VALS is committed to diversity, equality and inclusion and we celebrate our staff team of diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, LGBTQI+ communities and from diverse cultures, language groups, abilities, and experiences.

Grow, develop and be rewarded

  •  You will have opportunities to work on diverse matters and gain significant experience, while having opportunities to develop your own expertise and collaborate with colleagues and partners in wide ranging projects, including policy and legal reform
  • Access generous staff benefits such as access to salary packaging options, flexible working, TOIL, pre-purchased leave, paid parental, carer and cultural leave and much more.

We are currently seeking

VALS has multiple jobs on offer.  These are:

About the role: 

  • This role will be responsible for co-coordinating the national rollout of the legal advisory service for the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The National Coordinator’s will understand deeply the issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities.
  • This role will work closely in corroboration with the National Coordinator and in partnership with National Legal Aid who are coordinating the other elements of the legal advisory service (for all non-Indigenous people), and other key stakeholders across the disability and legal services sector, including First Peoples Disability Network. The NLAS incorporates a central coordinating team and mobile legal advisory team, a National Helpline, and ATSILS staff in each state and territory. The Royal Commission (DRC) also has a range of disability support services and helplines to assist and engage communities. The National Coordinator will be a conduit between the DRC and our service where necessary.
  • The National Coordinator will coordinate the systems development, design of service model and triaging processes, service accessibility, strategy, coordination and evaluation/reporting of project delivery, training of staff and support for ATSILS delivering the service. The National Coordinator has senior experience of project management and legal service delivery, stakeholder management and evaluation, monitoring and reporting skills. The National Coordinator has significant knowledge and experience of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities and their families, carers and supporters.
  • The National Coordinator will undertake duties with regard to reporting to our funding bodies however will be supported in this process by the corroborating National Coordinator and Executive Officer.
  • The successful applicant will respond to calls to the national helpline from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with advice, referrals to support services and information about any issues arising from engagement with the Royal Commission. In addition, where appropriate, the role will also include arranging referrals to ATSILS members for follow up legal advice, as well as non-legal referrals to appropriate support services. This work will corroborate with the National Coordinator of Your Story Disability Legal Support within the NATSILS team.

Key Selection Criteria: 

  • Knowledge:  knowledge and understanding of the social, legal and justice issues including abuse and systemic racism, faced by members of the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities across Australia; detailed knowledge of and relationships across the disability sector.
  • Service design: Experience in developing and implementing a vision for a project, preferably relating to legal and/or disability service provision, on a national scale; designing the service to be culturally safe, trauma-informed, disability appropriate, and comply with accessibility and other standards.
  • Research, evaluation and analytical skills: understanding of the social, legal and justice issues including systemic racism faced by members of the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities across Australia; experience in research, monitoring, reporting and skills in extracting insights and recommendations from data that conveys a compelling story.
  • Values: an alignment to the values and vision of NATSILS through a demonstrated appreciation of and sensitivity to the challenges our community members have faced and continue to face in their right for justice and equity.
  • Cultural capability: understanding of the histories, cultures, languages, traditions of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples; ability to work effectively and respectfully with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, organisations, communities; and ongoing commitment to developing own cultural competence in a two-way process.
  • Relationships: proven expertise building relationships, mapping services, driving partnerships and networking between varied stakeholders, especially in disability support and advocacy, and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
  • Project and people management: demonstrated experience in project management, including coordinating a team across different jurisdictions, experience working in legal service delivery, data collection and analysis, evaluation, research and monitoring.
  • Initiative and vision: shows independence, initiative and ability for self-direction and self-management.

Qualifications and experience

  • Minimum of 3 years relevant professional experience.
  • Holding a relevant tertiary degree, law degree or qualifications in disability support would be advantageous.
  • Experience working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability would be highly advantageous.
  • Previous experience and networks within the legal, not-for-profit, government or disability sector is desirable.

Mandatory Requirements:

  • A copy of your current Employee Working with Children card
  • You will be required to complete a current Criminal History Police Check

Key Duties and Responsibilities:

This role will be responsible for coordinating the national rollout of the legal advisory service for the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This role will work closely in partnership with National Legal Aid who are coordinating the other elements of the legal advisory service (for all non-Indigenous people).

The NLAS incorporates a central coordinating team and mobile legal advisory team, a National Helpline, and staff in each state and territory. 

The National Coordinator position will:

  • Provide high quality leadership of the service, including design, funding and delivery of legal services across Australia for members of the public wanting to engage with the Royal Commission including ensuring accessibility.
  • Coordinate a team of professional and support staff and develop a framework for training, governance and professional supervision.
  • Ensuring the staff of the NLAS are trauma informed and skilled in supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability by sourcing or developing appropriate training.
  • Plan for, oversee and manage the development and maintenance of strong, productive, respectful and influential relationships with a diverse range of key stakeholders including NLA, NATSILS, First Peoples Disability Network, Family Violence Prevention Legal Services, the Royal Commission, the disability sector, the Commonwealth and the CLC sector.
  • Working closely with NDAP providers and other peaks and stakeholders that services supporting the Royal Commission are not duplicated.
  • Monitor service delivery including engaging with consumers and analyzing statistical data to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of NLAS and to inform service delivery planning.
  • Monitor budget and coordinate reporting requirements to the Commonwealth.
  • Develop referral pathways for the legal advisory service.
  • Develop strong working relationships with key non-legal service providers.
  • Provide leadership in the development of high quality and consistent legal services across Australia within the constraints of available resources.
  • Be responsive to the strategic direction and focus of the Royal Commission.
  • Identify areas of strategic importance for people with disabilities in the context of the RC’s terms of reference and coordinate and allocate available resources accordingly.
  • Maintain effective relationships with NLA, NATSILS, FPDN, Aboriginal peak bodies, Office of Counsel Assisting and service providers, and other key stakeholders.
  • Obtain feedback and direction from the National Advisory Group and national project team.
  • Respond to calls to the national helpline from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with advice, referrals to support services and information about any issues arising from engagement with the Royal Commission. In addition, where appropriate, the role will also include arranging referrals to ATSILS members for follow up legal advice, as well as non-legal referrals to appropriate support services.

 

HOW TO APPLY: 

• a covering letter outlining who you are and why you are suited to this position
• a statement addressing each of the key selection criteria – applications submitted without a statement addressing the key selection criteria will not be accepted. Please note the key selection criteria is found within the position description.
• your resume detailing your education and professional experience, two referees 


Please submit your application to jobs@vals.org.au using the subject line: NATSILS – National Coordinator 

 

APPLICATIONS FOR THIS ROLE WILL CLOSE ON MONDAY THE 7TH OF FEBRUARY 2022, 5:00PM.

Overview:

This position focuses on providing specific supports to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living within regional Victoria who are impacted by Family Violence as a priority. 

The Family Support Officer (FSO) acts as liaison between VALS and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and all legal practice areas. The FSO has an educational role in providing information to communities on holistic family and violence support services and; the supports available through VALS programs.

Location: This position is available in any of our Regional offices: Ballarat, Bairnsdale, Mildura, Shepparton, Swan Hill and Warrnambool. 

 

Key responsibilities:

  1. Conduct outreach, support and coordinate holistic support for our clients impacted by family violence. 
  2. Court support, transport assistance, referrals and advocating on the client’s behalf
  3. Reassure the client and explain legal terminology and processes used by the courts and legal profession, not using legal jargon. Where appropriate, take notes of the history of the client’s case and provide them to the solicitor
  4. Liaise and network with other Aboriginal organisations to promote VALS and be aware of programs that will assist Victorian Aboriginal communities, especially those who specialise in supporting persons/families affected by family violence
  5. Liaise with police and other persons within the justice system to ensure delivery of a culturally relevant service
  6. Perform a range of administrative tasks relevant to VALS clients, including maintaining client records on our client management system, preparing activity reports and participating in staff meetings, training and other workforce development initiatives 
  7. Travel and provide service to clients within the regional areas of Victoria;
  8. As directed, undertake other duties that are incidental to the main tasks, provided that such duties are reasonably within the employee’s skills, competence and training

 

Personal accountabilities:

  1. Compliance with all VALS values, code of conduct, policies and procedures and relevant government legislation and standards where relevant.
  2. Demonstrate a commitment to the principles of social justice and aim to ensure every individual is treated with dignity and respect regardless of their background, ability, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or religion
  3. Ensure appropriate use of resources
  4. Actively participate in initiatives to maintain, build upon and promote a positive and collaborative workplace.
  5. Take reasonable care for your own health & safety, and health and safety of others
  6. Promptly respond to and report health and safety hazards, incidents and near misses to management.
  7. Attend mandatory training sessions (i.e., equal employment opportunity, health and safety, managing risks of vicarious trauma, cultural safety) and mandatory training specific to position.

 

Key Selection Criteria:

  1. Hold a certificate or degree in community services, social work or another relevant field. If does not hold certificate or degree, can demonstrate experience within the community services sector with a focus on family violence. 
  2. Ability to work alone and be accountable for movements and work performance 
  3. A demonstrated knowledge of the Victorian legal system and of the legal issues faced by Victorian Aboriginal communities
  4. An understanding of family violence and its impacts on communities
  5. Demonstrated computer literacy skills and proficiency using the Microsoft Office 
  6. Ability to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and acknowledge their    diverse backgrounds, personalities and varying needs and the unique cultural ways in which they may be expressed
  7. Experience working in the non-profit sector.

 

Key Capabilities:

  1. Plans and prioritises work – manages competing demands
  2. Adheres to organisation policies and procedures
  3. Is approachable, accessible and responsive
  4. Communicates attentively by phone and in person, including listening attentively and showing empathy when appropriate
  5. Gathers relevant facts through research and interview skills
  6. Gains insight into the client and stakeholder needs, priorities and expectations

 

Mandatory Requirements:

On offer of this position, you must provide: 

  1. a copy of your current Employee Working with Children card 
  2. a copy of your current Victorian Driver’s License 
  3. you will be required to complete a current Criminal History Police Check
  4. proof of rights to work in Australia, i.e. a copy of an Australian Passport, Birth Certificate or Immigration VISA documentation
  5. Proof of Vaccination 

copies of any certificates or degrees relevant to this role (eg. community services certificate, diploma or degree in social work).

To apply for this opportunity, please provide
• A covering letter outlining who you are and why you are suited to this position
• A statement addressing each of the key selection criteria – applications submitted without a statement addressing the key selection criteria will not be accepted. Please note the key selection criteria is found within the position description.
• Your resume detailing your education and professional experience and two referees.
Please submit your application to jobs@vals.org.au using the subject line: Family Support Officer – Regional (please state which regional office you are applying for)

 

APPLICATIONS FOR THIS POSITION WILL CLOSE ON FRIDAY THE 28TH OF JANUARY 2022, AT 5:00PM.

This position is a fixed term contract to fill a period of maternity leave and for several months post the return of the lawyer. It is tied to an Integrated Practice Project which VALS is undertaking in partnership with Consumer Action Law Centre (Consumer Action). The project is funded through Federation of Community Legal Centres’ integrated services fund. The project commenced in 2019 and has secured funding year on year, with current funding guaranteed to 2023. Subject to new funding, there may also be opportunities for a successful candidate to pursue subsequent opportunities in other areas of the Civil and Human Rights practice. 

Casework and Advice Provision 

  • Provide high quality and professionally delivered legal advice and representation to clients with consumer and credit law matters in courts, tribunals and external dispute resolution forums as appropriate.
  • Work collaboratively with other staff-members in the VALS Civil and Human Rights practice to ensure subject area knowledge is shared, to assist with building the internal capacity of the team to handle complex consumer and debt matters, which will require, from time to time, the supervision and training of other lawyers in consumer and debt matters. 
  • Deliver training (including in partnership with Consumer Action) and share legal precedents and other resources with VALS’ civil team, in order to develop VALS’ internal capacity to manage complex consumer and debt related legal disputes. 

Engagement and collaboration 

  • Form a strong working relationship with direct project partner in the CALC Koori Engagement Manager and Aboriginal Policy Officer
  • Collaborate with the Koori Engagement Manager and Aboriginal Policy Officer and other relevant VALS and Consumer Action staff to attend community engagement sessions in regional and rural areas. 

Strategic Advocacy 

  • Work closely with the Aboriginal Policy Officer at Consumer Action as well as other relevant staff to identity systemic issues and assist where possible with associated campaign and advocacy work. 
  • Assist VALS CEO and other senior staff in relation to media and other external facing opportunities arising from the work of this project.

Key Selection Criteria

The applicant must be a qualified legal practitioner with at least two years full-time post-admission experience in a role involving frequent legal casework and advice. The applicant must also have a current Victorian driver’s license, as the role will require travel to regional areas of Victoria for community engagement.

  1. Legal skills and knowledge
  2. Strong negotiation skills and a professional common-sense approach to dispute resolution.
  3. A demonstrated experience in providing legal advice, representation, and conducting casework in various jurisdictions including tribunals and courts. 

It is desirable for the candidate to have direct knowledge of consumer and credit law, the relevant legislative and regulatory framework and the ability to develop, learn and apply this knowledge. Whilst there will be some scope for initial intensive training via CALC, previous experience practising in this area of law will be highly regarded.

Skills working with our clients

  1. Experience and skill working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients, either in an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service, community legal centre, or Legal Aid Commission
  2. Ability to interact easily and in a friendly manner with people who experiencing stressful legal issues, including in an outreach ‘out of the office’ environment.
  3. An awareness and personal interest of the social context of our clients and their legal issues. 

    Working collaboratively
  4. Strong interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to tailor and modify communication to a range of audiences. 
  5. Proven collaborative skills and ability to work effectively with and through others, including Aboriginal colleagues and partner organisations.
  6. Respect for others’ feelings and ideas and the ability to work effectively and professionally with people from a diverse range of backgrounds, always maintaining dignity and respect. 

Key Capabilities

  1. Demonstrates emotional intelligence and respect colleagues and other stakeholders at all times.
  2. A willingness to learn from and respect the expertise of others, particularly Aboriginal colleagues and staff at partner organisations.
  3. Supports and contributes to a cohesive team and organisation culture.
  4. Understands and complies with professional obligations as a lawyer.
  5. Meets client and stakeholder expectations in a timely, reliable and consistent manner – ensures that others meet expectations.
  6. Possesses a strong grasp of relevant legal issues and will consult with internal or external experts where appropriate. 
  7. Contributes to knowledge and learning resources for the organisation.

HOW TO APPLY

A covering letter

Statement addressing each of the key selection criteria

Resume with 2x referees

Please send application to jobs@vals.org.au using the subject lines: Lawyer to Senior Civil Lawyer, maternity leave contract

 

Applications for this position will close on the 3rd of February 2022 @5:00pm.

This is an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander designated position, classified under Section 12 Special Measures of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. This employment opportunity is only available to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

 

Overview:

The Youth Support Officer acts as liaison between the Balit Ngulu Legal Services and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander young people taken into custody by the police and/or engaged with related youth justice processes, such as court.  The Youth Support Officer has an educational role in crime prevention and reduction, and in conjunction with other facilities, to provide for alternative programs to Aboriginal young people and communities.

The Youth Support Officer works closely with young people and their families and key service providers to support effective and sustained engagement with Balit Ngulu Legal Services. This includes supporting culturally safe and appropriate safety and support plans for individual young people, in collaboration with them, their families and other members of their community and networks. This can include advocacy and making referrals to programs and resources that help divert young people from the criminal justice system. This includes programs that support desistance from offending and that support positive self-esteem, healthy and safe relationships and engagement with key community services, such as education, mental health, domestic and family violence, drug and alcohol and sports and leisure services. This can include promoting opportunities for accountability and rehabilitation that contributes to the reduction of crime in the community. 

The Youth Support Officer provides community-based support and facilitates the effective coordination and sequencing of appropriate support services for young people who are appearing before, or have been sentenced by, the Children’s Court, Children’s Koori Court and adult criminal courts and who have been placed on youth justice supervised orders. 

 

What A Day as A Youth Support Officer Looks Like:

  1. You will make contact with the Aboriginal youth affected, accurately identify the issue to be resolved, work with the client on identifying appropriate solutions that will work for them, and establish warm links or referrals to existing programs and services to resolve the issue
  2. In partnership with service providers, provide information to young people, their families and carers on procedures, practices, guidelines, legislation and furthermore provide advice of the role the Balit Ngulu Legal Services. 
  3. Attend court to support the client and the solicitor;
  4. As directed, lodge all necessary court documents;
  5. Support clients by providing holistic support to increase young people’s opportunities of enhanced quality of life and community inclusion. This includes working closely with the young person, their family and other key service providers to develop bespoke support plans that are tailored to the individual and focus on keeping the young person safe and to effectively engage in support that develops insight and know-how-for reducing at risk behaviour and offending. This includes goal setting, monitoring progress, advocacy and referrals. 
  6. Advocate within the broader community on behalf of clients and their families to support inclusion, participation and respect for rights. 
  7. Liaise and network with other Aboriginal organisations and agencies to promote Balit Ngulu and be aware of programs that will assist in the prevention or reduction of crime by Aboriginal young people supported in relevant service areas of the program;
  8. Liaise with police and other persons within the justice system to ensure delivery of a culturally relevant service;
  9. Perform a range of administrative tasks to ensure the effective delivery of services to Balit Ngulu Legal Service;
  10. Represent Balit Ngulu Legal Services at various meetings and report back on those meetings to Balit Ngulu Legal Services management;
  11. As directed, undertake other duties as directed which are incidental and peripheral to the main tasks, provided that such duties are reasonably within the employee’s skills, competence and training.

 

Key Selection Criteria

  1. A demonstrated understanding of the youth justice system, particularly the principles and philosophy underpinning relevant legislation and the legal issues faced by Victorian Aboriginal communities. 
  2. An understanding of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 and key amendments and associated policies and guidelines that youth justice workers use. Understanding of Children’s Court practices and procedures or ability to obtain such knowledge 
  3. An excellent understanding of Victorian Aboriginal communities and the issues important to community, particularly as these relate to young people
  4. Demonstrated experience working with the Aboriginal community and with young people; and in working to support effectively coordinated support for young people as part of a whole-family and whole-community approach

 

Qualifications – Essential

  • Have a minimum of a Certificate IV in Youth Work, Diploma in Youth Work and/or equivalent experience. If not at Diploma level, must be willing to undertake relevant professional qualification (which will be supported by VALS).

 

To apply for this opportunity, please provide:
• a covering letter outlining who you are and why you are suited to this position
• a statement addressing each of the key selection criteria – applications submitted without a statement addressing the key selection criteria will not be accepted. Please note the key selection criteria is found within the position description.
• your resume detailing your education and professional experience and two referees.
Please submit your application to jobs@vals.org.au using the subject line: Youth Support Officer 

This employment opportunity is only available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Applications for this role will close on Thursday the 3rd of February 2022 at 5:00pm.

About the role:

The Policy & Advocacy Adviser of NATSILS provides high quality policy, advocacy and secretariat support services to the Executive Officer, Co-chairs of NATSILS and to the NATSILS members.

The Policy & Advocacy Adviser:

  • Exercises discerning skills to research and develop solutions to complex legal services issues informed by an Australia-wide approach to building strong communication across the ATSILS and the broader legal services sector.
  • Provides direct strategic advice and analysis services to internal and external stakeholders regarding justice system structural change and reform.
  • Develops and implements strategies for policy, campaigns and advocacy to achieve change on priorities and solutions to end to injustices, racism and over-incarceration in the justice system, including being a spokesperson where appropriate. 
  • Works closely with the Executive Officer and Chairpersons of NATSILS to ensure NATSILS strategic priorities are designed, achieved and evaluated.
  • Coordinates communications, feedback and discussions of state and national issues between ATSILS members and the Commonwealth Government Departments and Federal Parliamentarians.
  • Drafts submissions in response to commissions of inquiry, reviews and new policy initiatives issued by governments and parliaments.
  • Drafts content for external communications including for key stakeholders.
  • Co-ordinates NATSILS forums, including liaising with members, co-chairs and external third parties attending forums, drafting forum reports and actioning resolutions.

Key Selection Criteria:

  • Knowledge:  knowledge and in-depth understanding of the social, justice and legal issues faced by members of the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia 
  • Values: an alignment to the values and vision of NATSILS through a demonstrated appreciation of and sensitivity to the challenges our clients have faced and continue to face in their right for justice and equity
  • Cultural capability: understanding of the histories, cultures, languages, traditions of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples; ability to work effectively and respectfully with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, organisations, communities; and ongoing commitment to developing own cultural competence in a two-way process.
  • Experience: demonstrated experience working in a policy, campaigning and/or advocacy role at a local, State and/or National level and excellent strategic, research and analytical skills with an ability to draft and analyse legal policy documents, develop advocacy strategies for social change and communicate complex legal policies in plain language.
  • Project management: demonstrated experience in project management, including experience working in the area of legal assistance, research, communications or campaigning. 
  • Flexibility: preparedness to work irregular hours and a willingness to travel and present research, findings, project plans and other key materials to forums, media, informal groups and partners. 
  • Relationships: proven expertise building relationships, driving partnerships and networking between varied stakeholders and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. 


    To apply for this opportunity, please provide:
    • a covering letter outlining who you are and why you are suited to this position
    • a statement addressing each of the key selection criteria – applications submitted without a statement addressing the key selection criteria will not be accepted. Please note the key selection criteria is found within the position description.
    • your resume detailing your education and professional experience and two referees.
    Please submit your application to jobs@vals.org.au using the subject line: position title: NATSILS Legal Policy and Advocacy Adviser

This job role will close on 7th February 2022 at 5:00 pm.

The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service frequently offers a number of employment opportunities within our Legal, Community Justice and Executive and Corporate Services.

If you are an Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person who is seeking to work with our organisation please send your current resume along with your preferred area/role and region (metro, Loddon, Barwon etc.) 

Join our Talent Pool by clicking the button below.

We will contact you as new opportunities arise.

To determine eligibility VALS will:

  • enquire as to the Aboriginality of the client;
  • enquire as to perceived or actual conflict of interest;
  • enquire as to compliance with the Means Test;
  • consider the merit of the client’s matter.

Aboriginality
The first time someone uses VALS they must provide proof of their Aboriginality using the Confirmation of Aboriginality Form. This form must be signed and sealed by the Officer Bearers of a recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation.

Conflict
VALS must not decline to provide assistance to an eligible person, group or body on the grounds that the other party to the matter is an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person. In circumstances where the relationship between the parties to a case would result in a conflict of interest, that conflict must be managed in accordance with the Victorian Legal Practice requirements and Policy Direction 9 – “Managing Conflicts of Interest” – of the Attorney-General’s Department Policy Directions for the Delivery of Legal Aid Services to Indigenous Australians (2008).

VALS will not act if a conflict of interest exists. A conflict of interest may be an ‘actual’ conflict of interest or a ‘perceived’ conflict of interest. A conflict of interest can involve:

  • Clients who have different interests, such as VALS may have advised or acted for person “A” (old client) who has an interest that conflicts with person “B” (intended new client).
  • Clients and VALS, such as a VALS staff member or Board Member has an interest that conflicts with an intended new client. Conflicts involving client-provider relationships are:
    •  An owner, director, manager, employee, contractor or agent of VALS and/or;
    • An employee of the Department; and/or
    • A close relative (spouse, de facto, parent, sibling or child) of any of the above.

VALS provides assistance on a first in best dressed basis (i.e. provide direct assistance to the party who approaches VALS first). VALS will refer the other party to another legal service provider or “brief out” the client to a private lawyer (subject to the client meeting the requirements for brief outs). Where appropriate, VALS may act for one client and provide assistance by brief out to the other.

Means Test
Where a person seeks casework assistance, VALS must ensure that applicants satisfy the Means Testing provisions of the Policy Directions.

VALS must ensure that all applicants for legal casework assistance satisfy one or more of the following requirements:

  • Under 18 years of age;
  • Main source of income comes from Community Development Employment Projects; (CDEP) participant wages or Centrelink (or equivalent) benefits; or
  • Gross household income is under $52,000 per annum.

Note: Household income includes the income of your partner, spouse, relative including an adult child who you live with.

The Means Test will be administered in two parts:

Part A: Requires the completion of a small number of questions relating to the applicant’s personal circumstances and income level.

Part B: Is required where applicants do not satisfy the criteria in Part A. It requires more detail about the applicant’s income, assets, employment status and number of dependents.

Merit Test
Discretion will be used to determine if a particular case has merit.