find the latest legal job
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
In-House Legal Counsel (Mid to Senior)| Regulated Markets (Energy and Gas)
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Full PD on Request · Exciting High Impact Role
View details
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
Infrastructure Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Perth WA
· We'd be particularly interested to hear from you if you were a lawyer who knows your way around the infrastructure and energy sectors.
View details
Mills Oakley lawyer helps bring justice to Auburn

Mills Oakley lawyer helps bring justice to Auburn

ACCESS TO justice has become the popular catchcry of those bringing legal support to disadvantaged people. One small New South Wales law firm can now also make this call, having brought free…

ACCESS TO justice has become the popular catchcry of those bringing legal support to disadvantaged people. One small New South Wales law firm can now also make this call, having brought free legal advice to Sydney’s midwest suburbs.

A little over two years ago, Mills Oakley lawyer Luke Geary established Courtyard Legal at the Salvation Army’s drop-in centre in Auburn, a service providing free legal advice to those in need in the area. His work has now been nominated for the National Pro Bono Resource Centre’s 2007 Pro Bono Partnership Award.

The partnership focuses on the poor and marginalised in the Auburn community, and provides a free legal service for clients of the nearby methadone clinic.

Geary had been assisting people in the area on an informal basis at the request of some friends, but then decided to officially set up the service because of what he saw as “a real need to help people by providing representation and advice, primarily people who fall between the gap of qualifying for legal aid and being able to afford a lawyer who would not just appear professionally”.

In what Geary describes as “an unusual and unpredictable mix”, the work ranges from criminal matters, to family law and child protection matters, housing issues and small debt recovery matters.

A substantial portion of Geary’s work also involves immigration matters, mainly assisting with offshore refugee applications primarily for people in Africa. For this, he studied immigration law and Mills Oakley paid for him to obtain his qualifications in this area.

Geary sees clients at the centre for three hours every Monday evening, but he also makes a number of court appearances each week, which he said involves “going out to the local and district courts at Campbelltown, Liverpool, Parramatta, Blacktown and Bankstown, which takes up a lot of time”. Geary said that Mills Oakley is “fantastic”, giving him “complete freedom to do that sort of work as long as I meet my targets”. He has also been able to get the assistance of a few other lawyers from the firm when things have been tight.

Demand for the service is growing, particularly in the area of immigration, as news of the clinic has spread around Auburn, and it’s easy to see why. Geary explained that since the service began he has “had a little over 130 clients and only one unsuccessful result in court.”

Geary believes that the outcome of his one unsuccessful case and cases like it helped drive a change in the law regarding the ability of a person to appeal against the revocation of a suspended sentence, which occurred early this year.

Geary is clear that seeing justice realised is the main benefit he gets from running the service, “or rather, you see the injustice before these people approach you”, he said.

“[The clients have] been charged with crimes they didn’t commit, they’ve had children taken from them in circumstances that weren’t warranted, they’ve been kicked out of their housing or harassed by someone because of a disability or illness. It’s an opportunity to help people who aren’t otherwise getting any”.

Geary’s work at Courtyard Legal was nominated for the National Pro Bono Resource Centre’s 2007 Pro Bono Partnership Award.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Mills Oakley lawyer helps bring justice to Auburn
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 22 2017
‘Document tsunami’ driving lawyers to upskill in TAR
A prominent Victorian judge has highlighted the growing need for lawyers to expand their knowledge o...
Defamation expert appointed to lead Victorian Bar
Nov 22 2017
Defamation expert appointed to lead Victorian Bar
The Victorian Bar has named Dr Matt Collins QC as its new president, with an additional eight member...
Law Council of Australia
Nov 21 2017
LCA calls for urgent adoption of ‘game-changing’ recommendation
The Law Council of Australia has urged for the immediate adoption of a key recommendation put forwar...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...