Keeping Food on the Table – training and support to Victorian Community Legal Centres

Consumer Action has received funding from the Legal Service Board to provide training and support to Victorian Community Legal Centres.

The project aims to build the capacity of the Community Legal Centre sector to best assist disadvantaged clients with consumer related debt problems.  We have been working with Centres to ensure clients with consumer related debt problems are receiving the most appropriate referrals and, for those Centres that assist with consumer law matters, that the most is being made of the full range of legal and financial options available to disadvantaged consumers.

We acknowledge that each CLC has different processes for dealing with consumer law issues and we have endeavoured to tailor our information and support to each Centre’s existing approach and limits.

What we are doing and how it can assist your Centre

We have been visiting Centres to:

  1. discuss how best our training and support can assist to deal with consumer law issues, taking into account any limits a Centre has for dealing with these types of matters;
  2. provide a training session covering the legal implications, and client options, when a low-income, disadvantaged client is faced with legal action in relation to a debt;
  3. assist in developing procedures for the most appropriate referrals for consumer issues;
  4. assist in the development of any consumer law tools or precedents that may assist your Centre;
  5. provide ongoing assistance through our worker advice service.

Precedent letters, pleadings and other documents

We have produced some materials to accompany this project, which we trust community legal centres and other community workers will find helpful.

Debt collection – letter of offer to settle

Debt collection – letter requesting waiver

Debt collection – letter to stop contact

Debt collection – Sample VCAT application for harassment

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