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Head Note May 2016

Senior staff movements

Paul Davey, Acting CEO, Legal Aid Queensland
   Acting CEO Paul Davey

Legal Aid Queensland’s chief executive officer Anthony Reilly has accepted a secondment to the Public Safety Business Agency for six months.

Paul Davey is now the acting chief executive officer. Paul has held the deputy chief executive officer role at Legal Aid Queensland for the past six years where he has been responsible for all legal service delivery aspects of Legal Aid. This included the large Brisbane based in-house legal divisions, grants and directly managing regional legal services. Paul has extensive experience in managing large commercially focused legal practices and has held senior roles in Queensland Government legal practices over the past 16 years. Prior to joining Legal Aid, he was executive director of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and general manager of Crown Law. He has degrees in science, management and law.

Nicky Davies is now the acting deputy chief executive officer. Nicky has worked at Legal Aid Queensland for the past 19 years, including 14 years as the Family Law and Civil Justice Services director (previously called senior Legal Consultant, Family Law). Nicky has been admitted as a solicitor for 29 years, and has worked as a solicitor in both England and Australia. Nicky is a past member of the Family Law Council and has convened the Council’s Violence Committee. She is a past president of the Family Law Practitioners’ Association Queensland and a member of the Children’s Law Committee of the Queensland Law Society.

Child protection duty lawyer service expands to new sites

Picture of a young girl standing in front of a red painted wall

Legal Aid Queensland has expanded its successful child protection duty lawyer service to seven new Magistrates Courts across Queensland, giving vulnerable young people and parents access to legal information, advice and assistance before they go into court.

“The service provides legal information and advice to people about their child protection matter, explaining the legal process, their responsibilities and their options for responding to the process,” Legal Aid Queensland acting CEO Paul Davey said.

“The lawyers help people to complete forms and documents needed for that day in court and to apply for further help from Legal Aid Queensland if appropriate.”

Clients are also referred on to relevant support services if needed.

In March 2016, the service was expanded to Brisbane, Southport, Maroochydore, Ipswich, Toowoomba, Caboolture and Pine Rivers—courts that have specialist child protection magistrates and high numbers of child protection matters listed each week.

The service has been operating in Cairns and Townsville since September 2014.

The service will be provided three days a week—Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays—in Brisbane and one day a week at all other locations.

The service will be delivered by a mix of lawyers from Legal Aid Queensland, private law firms and community legal centres who have experience in providing child protection services.

Free legal information webinars for community workers

Katherine Bowden, Communication and Community Legal Education Officer
Katherine Bowden,
Communication and Community Legal Education Officer

Community workers across Queensland can learn about common legal issues affecting their clients and how to access Legal Aid Queensland’s services thanks to our free webinar program.

“Community workers play a crucial role connecting vulnerable people to key government and support services in our communities,” community legal education coordinator Katherine Gorter said.  

“By educating community workers about common legal issues their clients face and how to connect their clients to Legal Aid Queensland’s services, our new webinar program will help people to access our services promptly to get the legal help they need.

“Our free webinars are proving very popular with more than 130 registrations for our most recent bankruptcy webinar.

“We are delighted workers in regional Queensland can access these training opportunities via webinar with more than 50 percent of our webinar attendees to date being from regional, rural or remote Queensland.”

Our webinar topics are informed by workers’ feedback with previous topics including credit and debt, youth justice, accessing the disability support pension and bankruptcy.

Upcoming webinar topics include:

All of the webinars are recorded, captioned for people with hearing impairments and posted on our YouTube channel.

Visit the Legal Aid Queensland website to find out more and to register for upcoming webinars.

Civil law conference a great success

Legal Aid Queensland recently held its annual Civil Law Conference in March 2016, a key continuing professional development event for in-house and community legal centre lawyers.

The two-day conference featured presentations on topics including:

  • consumer leases and credit reporting
  • sham contracting
  • redundancy
  • the Bankruptcy Toolkit
  • anti-discrimination proceedings within QCAT
  • Australian Consumer Law and the proposed review
  • practical legal ethics
  • managing psychological impacts of practicing law  
  • the proposed Human Rights Act for Queensland
  • employment visas and implications of losing employment
  • recent case studies including family tax benefit B, preclusion periods, special circumstances waivers and disability support pensions.

The conference was well attended and featured speakers from interstate community legal centres, the private bar, private law firms and Legal Aid Queensland. We would like to acknowledge and thank all speakers for their contributions to this event.

Some of the conference presentations were filmed and will be made available to preferred supplier law firms via our library.

LAQ website: read or listen to information about common legal problems in other languages

Image of a culturally diverse father and son

We have redeveloped our website to make it easier for people with low literacy and/or limited English skills to use.

The new website has useful information on common legal issues written in plain English, such as:

Click ‘Find legal information’ on the website to find these and other topics.

People with low literacy and/or limited English language skills can now listen to, or translate content on our website using a tool called Browsealoud. This will read aloud content on a page (in English), and can also be used to translate the same content into a number of different languages that can be read aloud. 

Visit the other languages page on the Legal Aid Queensland website for full details and instructions on how to use Browsealoud and what functionality is available through this tool. 

Contact for more information.

Case study: Helping vulnerable people access justice


Every day, we help people experiencing credit and debt problems to understand and protect their legal rights.

Marcia* is a 74-year-old aged pensioner with no assets. About 10 years ago, Marcia obtained a credit card from a bank that she used regularly until retiring. Since retiring, Marcia continued to make small payments towards the balance owing on the card, affording to do so by reducing her basic living costs.

Unfortunately, the small payments did not cover the monthly interest charges so her credit card balance continued to grow. Despite her payments totally more than her original credit card balance, she still owed more than $5000 to the bank. As a pensioner Marcia couldn’t afford to increase her payments and reduce the card balance, and was stuck with an increasing debt.

Marcia sought help from Legal Aid Queensland as she could no longer afford to pay even the small payments she had been making.

With our help, Marcia applied to the bank to waive the remaining balance on the basis that she had no assets, had no prospect of increasing her income and her previous payments had required her to forgo basic living requirements.

Following our submission, the bank agreed to waive Marcia’s remaining credit card debt—a great outcome for Marcia.

*Name has been changed for privacy reasons.

New and updated publications and resources

The following publications and resources have been updated since the last edition of Head Note:

View a full list of Legal Aid Queensland publications

All our publications and educational resources are free and can be viewed or ordered online

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