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VIC Property Being Held - Eligible for Legal Aid?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Shea Harrison, 9 September 2014.

  1. Shea Harrison

    Shea Harrison Active Member

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    Hello, I am on disability payments following an accident at work in 2009. I can not work due to my injuries and have received no financial assistance from my employer. I am also suffering from mental illness' caused from PTSD, major depression, stress and anxiety and over 10 mental breakdowns.

    In 2013, my relationship ended as a result of my injuries and mental health, and I left the premises with only a small bag of clothes. I was forced to leave all my property and possessions at the property due to insufficient funds to collect them or store them. I have requested from my previous partner to return my property and belongings as it not only belongs and is solely owned by me, it would assist in the comfort of my living.

    To this day my ex-girlfriend is still in possession of all my personal property, furniture and house hold items valuing $52,000 and will not release them.

    A lawyer will represent me to obtain my property, although they require $2000.00 for legal fees which I obviously do not have and can not afford. Is there any way of getting financial assistance or legal aid for the lawyer fees?
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Shea,

    Have you considered contacting your local community legal centre? They will be able to help you find a solicitor or may have solicitors on call that can assist you free of charge. Failing that, they should be able to help you fill in a form for legal aid and assist with its processing.
     
  3. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Also, if you believe you are entitled to work place compensation and your employer is refusing, have you tried contacting the Fair Work Ombudsman? They are a free service and should be able to help you lodge a claim or direct you to people who will be able to help.

    Also, have you contacted the Victorian WorkCover Authority, which deals with workplace injury and compensation? Here are some contact points:
    - WorkCover
    - Victorian Government contact sheet
     
  4. Shea Harrison

    Shea Harrison Active Member

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    Hi Sarah,
    Firstly I'd like to thank you for your reply to my legal matters.

    Yes I have tried and seen 3 Community Legal Centres and all have not been able to assist, I have contacted Legal Aid and had the same outcome. I have also seen 8 other lawyers within my area requesting their assistance, and all have been willing to handle the matter and get my property back once I pay between $2000 - $3000 into their trust account. I have explained in detail to all of them my situation of being on Disability payments and not having the funds to give them, and asked (even begged) them to allow me to pay off their fee's and none of the law firms would assist.
    Even explaining to them that my x-partner has everything I own in life and I desperately need those things to be comfortable with the Disability I have, none of them seem to have any compassion or willingness to assist me.
    And for the 2 yrs I have been trying to Legally obtain my property with no success, it has taken a greater toll on my mental illness and suffering.
    So not only do I had to deal with fighting for compensation and my injuries with my old employer, I also have to deal with this Legal matter as well.
    And I am appalled that after seeing so many law firms and explaining time after time that she has things like my bed, my lounge, fridge, dinning table, T.V, cooking items, cutlery, crockery.... (and I could go on) which are basic items in life I need to live and be comfortable, that no one seems to care.

    As far as my work place injury is concerned I have a second law firm looking into my claim, but have not received any positive or clear indication from them at this stage if they will pursue a compensation claim for me.
    This has also dragged on for over 5 yrs now and way too long in my opinion, and has completely destroyed the enjoyable life I use to lead.
    The personal, physical and mental health deteriorations that have been a result of this Legal matter have come at a far greater cost than any amount of compensation I could ever receive.

    I have lost all my friends, my family and my relationship, hate my life on a daily basis, am majorly depressed 24-7, and have also tried to take my own life on 3 occasions. I have nothing to live for, no future to look forward to, and being in financial hardship I am just surviving!

    With kind regards,
    Shea.
     
  5. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Shea,

    Your local community legal centre should be able to help you apply for legal aid. It is one of the services they offer. Is the reason they, and Legal Aid, cannot help you is that you do not qualify for legal aid? If so, is this because of a liquidity issue?

    I strongly suggest speaking to someone about your depression and stress from this matter. Legal matters, whilst extremely frustrating and may seem scary or stressful, are really best tackled calmly. I know this is easier said than done, but try not to stress too much and really just find out 1) why you cannot be granted legal aid; or 2) how to get funding so that you may pursue this action without legal aid. If you are trying to recover your property, you can actually make an application yourself with VCAT. Have you tried contacting them?

    Also, I must refer you to lifeline on 13 11 14. Other services:
    • Hold On To Life @ the Australian Suicide Prevention Foundation (24/7) - 1800 HOLDON (1800 465 366)
    • Suicide Callback - 1300 659 467 (available 24/7)
    Best of luck and think positive!
     

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