VALS is delighted to announce that our Criminal Law Practice has reopened client intake at several metropolitan courts after a freeze since June 2022.
VALS is now operating at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court, Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court, Dandenong Magistrates’ Court, Geelong Magistrates’ Court, and the Neighbourhood Justice Centre in Collingwood.
We also continue to provide a duty service for all unrepresented community members in the Magistrates’ Koori Courts across the state. We have been open for intake at regional courts since early October.
Aboriginal people who would like assistance with any criminal matters in these courts can call (03) 9418 5999.
VALS can take referrals from clients in the community or in custody. Please call us for intake at least two days before your court matter.
VALS placed a freeze on intake of new clients due to extremely heavy workloads for our criminal lawyers. We have continued to serve clients with existing matters and have provided warm referrals to other services.
Our lawyers have worked hard to reduce their caseloads, and their efforts have allowed VALS to gradually reopen our services to Aboriginal people who need legal support.
VALS would also like to thank the many services who supported us by accepting referrals and assisting our clients throughout the freeze.
VALS is currently still unable to take on new clients at Frankston, Moorabbin, Ringwood, Sunshine, Seymour and Werribee. We hope to have a further update on these courts soon.
Quotes attributable to Nerita Waight, VALS CEO
“Our lawyers’ workloads are now down to a safe level, which means we can provide Aboriginal people in Victoria with the high-quality legal assistance they deserve. I am thrilled that VALS is again able to take on new clients in Melbourne.”
“I encourage any Aboriginal person in need of legal advice or support to call VALS as soon as they can.”