New legal service to help homeless

Wednesday, 23 November 2005

A new legal service for homeless people provided by the University of Adelaide's Law School will be officially launched tonight (Wednesday).

The Adelaide Legal Outreach Service (ALOS) is a free legal advice service for South Australian homeless people, and is operated by students from the University's Law School under the supervision of lawyers and law lecturers.

It is based out of WestCare in Wright Street in the Adelaide CBD, and is supported by the University of Adelaide, the Law Society and the Law Foundation of South Australia.

It will be launched tonight by prominent national legal identity, the Hon. John von Doussa QC, at the WestCare Church, also on Wright Street. Mr von Doussa is President of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Chancellor of the University of Adelaide and a former Federal and SA Supreme Court Justice.

For the service, which has been operating in pilot form since March, students will give preliminary advice and referral to homeless people, with the aim of helping clients manage their own case or referring them to other services.

Ms Kathleen McEvoy, a Senior Lecturer at the Law School and ALOS co-founder along with the Law School's Dr Alex Wawryk and Ms Margaret Castles, says students gain an enormous amount from providing advice to a particularly focused and disadvantaged group.

"It has been sobering for the students to see the difficulties some people face when just getting a meal or finding somewhere to sleep are big challenges," Ms McEvoy says. "It was confronting for many students at first, but for them to find that homeless people are an incredibly resourceful, decent and hopeful group of people has been a very positive lesson in humanity and the social environment in which the law works."

Fellow Law School Senior Lecturer Ms Margaret Castles says the service exposes students to real-life legal situations while they are still studying.

"The students take responsibility for the cases and run the clinic themselves while the supervisors stay in the background to offer support if required," Ms Castles says. "Some of the matters the students deal with include trying to serve divorce proceedings, bankruptcy, family law, freedom of information and changing bail conditions."

One of the Law students placed with the service, Alex Kusmanoff, says it provides benefits to both homeless people and the students themselves.

"Recently I was able to recover a sizeable amount of money for a client," Alex says. "It was very satisfying to achieve a positive outcome for my client, but it was even more so when one realises that this is something the client would never have been able to achieve without ALOS."

 

Contact Details

Ms Kathleen McEvoy
Email: kathleen.mcevoy@adelaide.edu.au
Website: http://www.law.adelaide.edu.au
Senior Lecturer
Law School
University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5936


Ms Margaret Castles
Email: margaret.castles@adelaide.edu.au
Website: http://www.law.adelaide.edu.au
Senior Lecturer
Law School
University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5722


Ms Robyn Mills
Email: robyn.mills@adelaide.edu.au
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084


Mr David Ellis
Email: david.ellis@adelaide.edu.au
Website: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762