How new community website Everyday-Law can work for you

With the launch of our new legal information website, Everyday-Law.org.au, you now have a one-stop-shop to access all the best easy-to-understand legal information online. The site can help make your plain language materials more accessible to the public and help you support your clients on a range of common legal issues. Here’s how. 

Everyday-Law is a major new website produced by us at the Victoria Law Foundation. It brings together almost 1,500 carefully selected resources developed by organisations like yours, from across the legal sector, government and beyond.

As a result, it makes resources produced across the sector now easier for people to find – by including them in a site that is friendly, yet authoritative, easy to navigate and designed specifically to meet the needs of people in the community searching for legal answers.

While the website is primarily for the public, people working in the legal sector or government can also use the site to find the best available plain language materials for their clients.

All the resources included on the site have been carefully checked to make sure they are accurate, up-to-date and relevant – and they are ranked, so your search will highlight the best available resources for that issue.

Where your clients need more specific legal advice, you can search the site’s Law Help section for free or low-cost legal services to point people to the most appropriate organisation for them. This part of the website provides an online version of our popular hardcopy Law help directory.

“Everyday-Law is the result of nine months of hard work by the foundation to take online legal information to the next level. We’ve come up with an audience-focused site that helps the community find legal answers, search for legal services and learn more about the legal system,” said the Victoria Law Foundation Executive Director, Joh Kirby.

“We encourage organisations across the legal sector, the courts and government to link to Everyday-Law from your own websites, as a resource for the community and for your organisation,” Joh said.

Encourage your organisation to link to www.everyday-law.org.au from your website. We can even provide a logo and a short description just contact our Everyday-Law team on 9604 8100 or email contact@everyday-law.org.au.

Your honour, sir, madam, justice, or judge?

Our latest guide

Our latest, easy to understand guide.

Today the Victoria Law Foundation launches a new guide on what to call judges and tribunal members in Victoria.

Have you ever wondered what to call the judge when you are in court? Even for the most seasoned lawyer it can be confusing. Imagine being a new law graduate sent down to court for the first time with a million things to think about and Law and Order episodes running through your head. 

Developed in consultation with both Victorian and Federal courts and tribunals, What do I call the judge? is the definitive Victorian guide on what to call judges and tribunal members in court, at functions, in writing and when they retire. Questions that come up every day for those working in the legal sector.

The guide has been developed to make it quick and easy to use, including a quick reference section and commentary with detail and examples on the conventions.

It’s an essential reference tool for anyone in the legal sector who has contact with the courts including new graduates, solicitors, expert witnesses and support staff. It’s information that up until now has been difficult to find in one place.

Ultimately however it is designed to make the public more confident when they come into contact with the courts. Providing clear guidelines that take away some of the stress of being involved in the court process.

The guide is available free, online and in hard-copy. You are welcome to link to the guide online, or to order copies for yourself, for your organisation or to distribute to your clients, visitors and the public. To order, call us on 9604 8100 or visit our website.


Stop parking fines from ruining your day – all the information you need is in one spot.

Have you ever been shopping and lost track of time? Then you walk past another person’s car seeing them getting and ticket. You walk faster towards your car and have that sinking feeling as you see a fine on your windscreen. Stop parking fines from ruining your day.

Confused about where to park? Our guide can help!

Confused about where to park? Our guide can help!

Parking fines are a recurring issue that frustrate drivers on a daily basis. Parking signs can be difficult to understand. Parking rules tend to differ between councils. Once you receive a fine, information on your rights and options can be difficult to find. To help, Victoria Law Foundation has produced Parking, the law and you, a free, easy to understand guide to parking laws in Victoria.

Developed in consultation with local councils, the guide simplifies parking rules and signs. It includes pictures of the most common signs and an explanation of what they mean, helping drivers to to work out where they can and can’t park.

One of the main reasons people ignore fines is not knowing what to do next. Depending on your circumstances the guide outlines your options and also explains where to go for more information and help.

Parking, the law and you will help you to navigate through parking laws and avoid fines.  It is perfect size to keep in your car and refer to on the move.

Download or order Parking, the law and you or contact our publications team on 9604 8100 or publications@victorialawfoundation.org.au to find out more about our free publications.

Noisy neighbours?

Which seems more like your neighbourhood?

Or this?

Fact is, either way, we can rarely choose our neighbours.

We all like to think we’re reasonable people but even the most harmonious neighbourhood can become a nightmare if neighbourly disputes get out of hand. There will be times when what your neighbour does on their property affects you and vice versa. So who do you turn to when this happens?

We’ve just launched a new guide to help prevent neighbourhood disagreements from turning into neighbourhood disputes and ending up in mediation, or even court. Neighbours, the law and you is a free, comprehensive guide for all Victorians on their rights and responsibilities as a neighbour. It covers some of the most common neighbourhood dispute issues including fences, trees, noise and pets.

Developed in consultation with our friends at the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria, Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre and the City of Booroondara, and written in easy to understand language, this little guide is now available from local councils, MP offices, neighbourhood houses and many more locations across Victoria.

Or simply visit our website to download a copy and share it widely with your neighbours or local community. You can also email us at publications@victorialawfoundation.org.au to order hard copies to hand out to your friends.

Now there’s no excuse not to be prepared if Mr Bean moves into your street!

When is duplication okay?

Every Christmas we are bombarded with information about how we should behave over the festive season. Much of this is about safety – drink in moderation, be safe on the roads, swim between the flags, how to survive Christmas day with the in-laws. It’s also often about our legal rights as consumers or employees such as knowing when are you entitled to a refund or exchange or your right to holidays or overtime.

 Sometimes you will hear the same message over and over again from different sources, so why the duplication? Executive Director Joh Kirby tells us about efforts to better coordinate legal information in Victoria.

“Last week the Attorney-General Robert Clark convened a working group to consider how the legal sector could better collaborate on online resources. The aim was commendable. In essence, he wanted to look at how to reduce duplication of effort and resources, and increase the quality of services to the public.

The spectre of the forum made me start thinking about why duplication exists.

In one view of the perfect world, life for the information seeker would be easy: one source of information with answers to everyone’s legal questions, available right here on your computer at the push of a button. But take a glance out of the window or a stroll down the street and it becomes clear that we are not a homogenous society. Different cultural backgrounds, age, education and literacy levels can all have an impact on the type of information that we need and want, and where and how we seek it out. And so duplication of information often serves an essential purpose.

But what about when there is no purpose to duplication? When it happens as a result of poor coordination or when organisations get wrapped up in themselves and lose sight of what their audience wants.

Better using existing information sources and expanding information-sharing forums will help to improve coordination. But it takes a commitment by organisations to bring about change in this area. Perhaps the first step for all organisations is to look to see what others are doing before embarking on a project. Organisations need to ask themselves: does anyone else produce this information, should my organisation do it and why, and could we collaborate to better serve the needs of our audience?

In the arena of legal information, the focus should firmly be on how we can best provide the legal information that people want, when, where and how they want it. Having this focus can bring you into conflict with people whose primary concern is to protect an organisation’s position in the marketplace. Focusing on the audience may sometimes mean sharing information to make it more widely available (even if it results in less clicks to your website!), taking a back step on an issue, and not viewing websites primarily as a marketing tool but rather as a means of providing information to the public.

The outcome from the forum was positive and I suspect it made us all look a little bit closer at how we approach our work.

A working group is to be established in 2013, which will include a range of individuals and organisations from across the sector. While the Attorney-General has his work cut out, with the right attitude and commitment, this is a working group that could really improve the way we help Victorians who need legal information and services.”

Know the law about owning a dog or a cat

Local councils play an important role in controlling dogs and cats.

Local councils play an important role in controlling dogs and cats.

“The government’s tougher laws… have forced owners of dangerous dogs or restricted breed dogs to control these animals appropriately or face severe penalties, including hefty fines and jail terms up to 10 years” – Peter Walsh, Minister for agriculture and food security.

Once again the laws governing dog attacks are a hot topic in the Herald Sun today, with the mayor of Hume City Council reminding Victorians that this is a problem that won’t go away. This year alone, according to the mayor, Hume council spent $100,000 on legal fees relating to dog confiscations and re-housing.

If you are a pet owner, it’s important to get your head around the rights and responsibilities that come with owning a pet.

There are serious consequences for dogs that are considered dangerous or menacing and dogs of restricted breeds. There are serious consequences for dogs that act aggressively. If you own a dog, or if you have been involved in an incident with somebody else’s dog, you should know where you stand.

We recently updated our free guide to the laws about owning a dog or cat in Victoria. Dogs, cats, neighbours and you explains everything from restricted-breed dogs (what are they?) to ownership laws (did you know you are considered the owner of an animal even if you’re only looking after it for a short time?).

Download or order your free copy of Dogs, cats, neighbours and you today.

Law help guide reaches over 100,000 Victorians

There’s someone standing in the foyer of a council building in Sale looking for help with a problem she has with her boss. There’s a student in Melbourne trying to get a sense of how the legal system works. In Horsham, a police officer helps a member of the public who doesn’t know where to turn. The 2013 Law help guide is out in the world and all kinds of Victorians have been picking it up, right across Victoria.

As of this week, over 100,000 copies of the Law help guide have been distributed across the Victoria. It’s a huge number – of which we are truly proud – but even after all the research and planning that goes into putting a publication like the guide together, it’s only when you have direct feedback from real life people that you get any real sense of the impact it has on communities.

The Law help guide is a small, easy-to-use pamphlet about where to start if you think you might need legal help. The law can be quite confusing if you don’t know what you’re looking for, so the Law help guide talks you through your options and gives you an idea of which organisations might be able to assist you.

As the orders for the 2013 edition come through, we have been speaking to a range of people who use the Law help guide for various different reasons. Councils are ordering copies for people who come in to complain about services, libraries are keen to stock them for those who don’t know where to start their research on a problem of their own, and community organisations are finding that members of the public are coming to them with legal questions they’re not equipped to answer. Even law schools are realising it’s a great idea to give students a sense of what services are available to the public beyond just a private lawyer in a law firm.

The law can seem confusing and even a little scary if you don’t know where to start. It’s great to know that over 100,000 copies of the Law help guide are not only available for all Victorians, but that that it is making a difference to the lives of those who need it the most.

You can download or order the Law help guide here, or contact our publications team to find out more.