Al is an asylum seeker who arrived in Australia in 2003. Until mid-2006, Al spent significant time and energy going through the court system in order to obtain a protection visa, but his application was ultimately rejected by the Federal Court. In 2004, Al spent several months in immigration detention.
These experiences left him extremely traumatised, leading to the development of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder. For the past two years, while living destitute in the community, Al incurred a range of infringements, amounting to over $2000. Al wanted to pay these infringements, but he had no right to work or earn money and was living on only $30 per week, provided by an asylum seeker support program.
Al's financial counsellor assisted him to have his infringements considered in the Special Circumstances List at the Magistrates' Court. He was extremely anxious about attending court due to his fear of authority and the traumatic memories of his time in immigration detention. HPLC lawyers were engaged to appear in the Magistrates Court on his behalf and were able to demonstrate that special circumstances existed at the time of the offences. The Magistrate dismissed all of his fines without condition. Al was ecstatic with the result and left the court jumping up and down in excitement.
With the fines now behind him, Al is able to continue to make positive changes to his life and improve his health and financial situation.
Kevin, who lived in a rooming house, faced eviction because he had not been able to keep up with his rental payments. He fell behind with his rent when he became unemployed. A few weeks before the birth of his first child, Kevin received a notice from VCAT informing him of a hearing of his landlord's application for his eviction. Assisted by the HPLC, Kevin successfully negotiated a payment plan with his landlord, allowing him to stay in the rooming house and pay his overdue rent back over a period of some months.
Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond his control, Kevin failed to make one of the payments under this payment plan. However, with further assistance from the HPLC, Kevin succeeded in having the Application for Possession filed against him dismissed by VCAT, meaning that he did not have to repay the rental arrears. Although he was not able to remain at the rooming house, he has found alternative accommodation which is more comfortable and secure, and looks forward to raising his child in a more peaceful environment.
To contact the Homeless Persons' Legal Clinic in Victoria, phone (03) 8636 4408 (FREECALL) 1800 606 313.