Lawyers in Australia charge from around $200/hr (junior lawyer) to $700/hr (partner), depending on the area of law they practise – and you can add to that administration costs and other fees. Once a year, however, Victorian Law Week (VLW) offers people a chance to access lawyers for free. Best of all, many of the events running from 17-23 May are online, allowing attendees to enjoy legal advice from the comfort of their own homes.

Mick Paskos, VLW’s publicist, told Neos Kosmos that “for most people, the first encounter with the law can be a difficult and stressful time, however VLW helps to build bridges so that people can get to know the law in a fun way when things aren’t as stressful”. In this way, he says, a positive experience during VLW may make it easier for people to navigate the legal system should they later need to interact with the law.

The free sessions are aimed at “educating and empowering people and building connections”.

“Most people who get into law want to try to help people solve problems, and during VLW they do it in a way which is extremely free,” Mr Paskos said, pointing to more than 130 free events from dozens of organisations, including 20 plus law firms. Other organisations involved in events are legal bodies like the Law Institute of Victoria, the Victorian Bar and the Courts, community legal centres, universities, libraries, and so on with the overall coordination of VLW resting with the Victoria Law Foundation – a group aimed at improving the justice system for all Victorians.

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Highlights include the following:

  • Free legal information and advice sessions: Lawyers and other experts will be out-and-about at local libraries and community hubs, at the State Library of Victoria forecourt, online and on the phone, covering topics including aged care; bushfire-related issues; COVID-19 related issues; criminal law; cyber-bullying; debts and fines; discrimination; employment law, including workers’ rights; family law; family violence; immigration; medical decision-making; neighbourhood disputes; buying and selling property; public housing; renting; scams; small business issues; youth law; wills and future planning.
  • The Courts: Learn about Victoria’s courts and come to sessions such as “What’s in a sentence?” and ask Judges those questions you have always wanted answered. Do the same with lawyers at events including “Cross-examine a barrister”.
  • Sexual offences: At a time when these issues rightly dominate daily discourse, we have a range of events on sexual assault, consent, harassment, sexting, stalking, the ways the law and courts deal with these issues, and where reform and change might be needed.
  • The impact of alcohol: Find out how the Coroners Court of Victoria works to prevent unnecessary alcohol-related deaths – from fatalities on the road to street violence – and what’s involved in the coronial process when they do occur.
  • LGBTIQA+: Sessions on understanding and responding to family violence in the LGBTIQA+ community; addressing trans and gender identity discrimination in the workplace; and promoting trans and gender diverse inclusion in sport.
  • Meet the Ombudsman: Meet Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass and her team at the State Library of Victoria forecourt where you can ask about issues to do with government, including fines, public housing, council and government department complaints and more.

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VLW Law Hub set up at Federation Square from a previous event in Melbourne. Photo: Supplied

Non-English language speakers can enjoy free interpreter services when participating in select activities provided they let the event organiser know they wish to use these free interpreter services at the time of booking. Free events with interpreter services include Bring your Bills Day (Ballarat); family law consultations by Farrell Family Lawyers; legal advice by Forty Four Degrees in Geelong, Mornington and Bendigo; face-to-face advice with a bushfire lawyer in Corryong Neighbourhood Centre, Upper Murray Community Recovery Hub; LGBTIQ family violence legal clinic for regional Victoria and LGBTIQ family violence consultations for community workers; family law legal advice sessions by Nicholes Family Lawyers; 40-minute consultations by Schetzer Papaleo Family Lawyers; legal advice about fines and infringements (Cobram)

Victoria Law Foundation Executive Director Lynne Haultain said “Victorians need access to vital information about their legal rights and responsibilities and where they can go for help” now more than ever and VLW helps them gain access to a number of sources which can help them.

For a full program, visit