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The Law Handbook

Table of Contents

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Acknowledgements
Legal Notice
Preface
1. About the Legal System
1.1 The Legal System
Where does law come from?
The Constitution
Aboriginal law
Law reform
Finding the law
Further reading
1.2 Courts
Introduction
State courts
Commonwealth Courts
Tribunals
Juries
Legal documents
2. Assistance with Legal Problems
2.1 Self-representation
Introduction
Deciding on self-representation
Preparation
Negotiation
Presenting your arguments
Criminal cases
Civil cases
Family law cases
Specific tribunals and courts
2.2 Legal Representation
Introduction
Lawyers: qualifications
Solicitors and barristers: the differences
Engaging a lawyer
Lawyers’ costs
Complaints of misconduct
Disputes
Negligence claims
Advice and assistance
2.3 Legal Aid
What is legal aid?
What does Victoria Legal Aid do?
Community legal centres
Private lawyers
Law Aid
Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service Co-operative Limited (VALS)
Other sources of legal information
Interpreters
2.4 Advice Directory
Community legal advice
Victoria Legal Aid
Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service
Other advice services
3. Arrest, Bail and Court
3.1 Disability and Criminal Justice
Introduction
Police
At court
Fitness to stand trial and the defence of mental impairment
Sentencing
Further information
3.2 Arrest and Interrogation
Arrest
Interrogation
Evidence
Arrest and interrogation of children
Reclaiming legal costs of defence
3.3 Bail
What is bail?
Forms of bail
Conditions of release on bail
Who can grant bail?
Making an application for bail
Grounds for refusal of bail
Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities
Duty of person bailed
Appeal and variation of bail orders
3.4 Types of Crime: Which Court?
Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic)
Classification of offences
Going to court
3.5 Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Court
The Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)
Sentencing orders
Victim impact statements
Pre-sentence reports
Defendants with intellectual and other disabilities
Sex offences registration
Commonwealth offences
3.6 Appeal Costs Board
Introduction
Eligibility
Making a claim
Assessment of fees
Contact
4. Offences, Infringements and Penalties
4.1 Drug Offences
Introduction
State offences
Federal offences
Extra-territorial offences
4.2 Driving Offences
Introduction
The legislation
Types of licences
Procedures for driving offences
Powers of courts to cancel or suspend driver licences and permits
VicRoad’s licence and permit powers
The right to appeal
Common driving offences
Powers to seize motor vehicles
Diversion program
Contacts
4.3 Sexual Offences
Reporting a sexual offence
Going to court
Sexual offences
Sexual harassment
Assistance for victims
Legal remedies
Sex work
Contacts
4.4 Infringements and Fines
The infringements system
The infringements process
What are my options?
Are the fines still outstanding?
Going to court
Contacts
4.5 Prisoners
Introduction
Legislative base
Two categories of prisoner
Prisons in Victoria
The prison system
Prisoners’ rights and remedies for breaches of rights
Making requests or complaints
Communication with prisoners
Offences in prison
Medical care
Employment and money
Voting
Change of name
Before release
Contacts
4.6 Criminal Records
What does it mean to be found guilty without conviction?
How will having a criminal record affect me?
Criminal record checks
Spent convictions
Employment
Working with children checks
Jury service
Going overseas
Holding public office
5. Family Relationships
5.1 Divorce
What is the Family Law Act?
Who can use the Family Law Act?
Family dispute resolution
Dissolution and nullity
Injunctions
Intervening parties
Property
Appeals
Costs and fees
5.2 Parental Responsibility, Maintenance and Child Support
Parental responsibility for children
Maintenance
Child support
5.3 Same-sex and De Facto Families
Same-sex and de facto families
Children
Other financial matters
Contacts
5.4 Family Violence
Introduction
Family violence intervention orders (state law)
Injunctions under the Family Law Act (Cth)
Binding over (state law)
Compensation
What a victim should do
Housing and support services
Contacts
5.5 Adoption
Introduction
Legislation, regulations and rules
Common adoption situations
Placing a child for adoption
Consent
Who may adopt?
The use of family court orders
Adoption information services
5.6 Changing Your Name
Introduction
Registering a new name
Marriage
Naming a child
Changing registration of parentage details
Where to find the law
6. Children and Young People
6.1 The Rights and Duties of Young People
General rights and duties
Sexual relations
Medical treatment
Giving evidence
Civil liability
Criminal liability
Corporal punishment
Rights and duties at school
Parenting
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
6.2 The Children’s Court
Introduction
Criminal cases
Child protection
6.3 Education Law
Introduction
Duty of care
Bullying and assault
Disciplinary procedures
Discrimination
Copyright issues
Family law issues
Confidentiality and privacy issues
Useful websites
7. Social Security Entitlements
7.1 Social Security Payments
Pensions
Allowances and payments
Compulsory income management
Concession cards
International agreements
Portability
Compensation and damages payments
Income tax
Overpayments
7.2 Social Security Appeals
Authorised Review Officer
Social Security Appeals Tribunal
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
Further information
8. Debts and Bankruptcy
8.1 Debts
Introduction
Before court action
Court procedure
Defences
Rehearing
Enforcement of court orders
Services that can provide assistance
8.2 Financial Counselling Services
State-wide
Melbourne and suburbs
Country areas
Rural financial counsellors
8.3 Bankruptcy
What is bankruptcy?
Considering all the options
Recent changes to bankruptcy law
Who can be made bankrupt?
Who administers the bankruptcy law?
What happens to the bankrupt’s property?
What happens to the bankrupt’s income?
The effect of bankruptcy on debts
Leaving Australia
Offences
Process of going bankrupt
When does bankruptcy end?
Other procedures under the Act
9. Superannuation and Taxation
9.1 Superannuation
Superannuation schemes and benefits
Regulation of funds
Superannuation benefits
Superannuation benefit disputes
Reviewing a trustee’s decision
Reviewing an insurer’s decision
Contacts
9.2 Taxation
Introduction
How is your income tax liability determined?
Your responsibilities as a taxpayer
Tax file numbers
The tax return
Assessments
Private rulings and oral rulings
Penalties, interest charges and offences relating to tax returns
Objections, reviews and appeals
Paying your tax
Fringe benefits tax (FBT)
Goods and services tax (GST)
State duties and taxes
10. Home and Neighbourhood
10.1 Tenancy
Introduction
The parties
Starting a tenancy
During the tenancy
Rent
Reasons for ending a tenancy
Procedure for ending a tenancy
Recovering bond money
Abandoned goods and documents
Compensation
The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities
Advice and contacts
10.2 Neighbours and Noise
Resolving problems
Nuisance
Entry onto land
Injuries on your land
Fences
Drainage of land
Animals
Noise
10.3 The Road Law for Cyclists and Skaters
General
Who and what do the Road Rules cover?
Bicycle-specific laws
Road law for skaters
General road laws
10.4 Internet Law
Introduction
Copyright issues
Defamation issues
Other protection issues
e-Commerce: online shopping
Managing access to internet content
Further information
10.5 Owners Corporations
Introduction
Entitlement and liability
Function and powers
Financial management
Repairs and maintenance
Insurance
Meetings and decisions
Managers
Duties and rights of lot owners and occupiers
Dispute resolution
11. Taking Action
11.1 Environmental Law
Introduction
Planning and environment
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
Pollution
Chemicals
Protecting nature
Legal advice
Further references
11.2 Community Activism
Introduction
Speaking out
Structure and finances
Protesting
Anti-terrorism legislation
Further information
11.3 Community Organisations
Introduction
Types of community organisations
Choosing the type of association
Incorporated associations
Other issues
Further reading
Contacts
12. Consumers and Contracts
12.1 The Law of Contract
What is a contract?
Elements of a contract
The terms of a contract
Ending a contract
12.2 Consumer Guarantees
The Australian Consumer Law
Guarantees by suppliers
Guarantees by manufacturers
12.3 Consumer Protection Legislation
Australian consumer law
Unsolicited consumer agreements
Pricing
Lay-by sales
Other provisions of the ACL
12.4 Consumer Remedies
Remedies for breach of contract
Self-help
Court of tribunal help
Alternative dispute resolution schemes
Court remedies
Small claims: the civil claims list of VCAT
Consumer Affairs Victoria
Contacts
13. Credit and Finance
13 Credit and Finance
Introduction
National credit reform
Pawnbrokers
Finance brokers
Credit reporting
Vendor terms
Codes of conduct
Credit dispute resolution
Where to get help
14. Houses and Cars
14.1 Buying or Selling a House
Introduction
Special titles
Conveyancing
Finding the money
Buying and selling
Negotiating the contract
Solicitor’s role
Complaints
Vendor and purchaser disputes
Building density
Goods and services tax (GST)
14.2 Domestic Building and Renovation Work
Introduction
Preliminary issues
Building contracts
Insurance
Completing works
Ending a contract
Disputes
Where to get help
14.3 Buying a Car
Introduction
The hidden costs of buying a car
Used cars: before you buy - who owns the car?
Obligations of the seller and purchaser
Is there a warranty?
How to get out of a car deal
Further assistance
Appendices A-D
15. Employment Conditions
15 Employment Conditions
Introduction
Employment contracts
National Employment Standards
Awards
Workplace agreements
Further terms and conditions for negotiation in individual agreements
Enforcement of entitlements under Workplace Agreements, Awards, National Employment Standards and contracts
Termination of employment
General protections
Bullying at work
Wage and employment records
Unemployment schemes
Equal opportunity
Occupational health and safety
Contacts
Introduction
16. Disability
16.1 Disability Overview
What is “disability”?
Legislation and definitions
The rights of people who have a disability
Capacity and consent
Contacts
16.2 Advocacy
Advocacy
The Public Advocate
Further assistance
16.3 Physical Disability
What constitutes physical disability?
Services
DisabilityCare Australia
Independent access
Contacts
16.4 Psychiatric Disability
Introduction
What is psychiatric disability?
Mental health services
Types of patients
The Mental Health Review Board (MHRB)
Interstate application of mental health laws
Treatment and consent
Rights of patients
Criminal justice system
Assistance
Contacts
16.5 Intellectual Disability
What is intellectual disability?
Legislation
Services
Negligence and duty of care
Criminal justice system
Taking instructions from clients
Contacts
Further reading
16.6 Guardianship and Administration
Introduction
Applying to VCAT
Guardians and administrators
Consent to medical treatment
Advance care directives
Contacts
16.7 Powers of Attorney
Introduction
General powers of attorney
Enduring power of guardianship
Enduring power of attorney (financial)
Enduring power of attorney (medical)
Contacts
Further reading
17. Discrimination
17 Discrimination
Introduction
Victorian Discrimination Acts
Exceptions to the prohibition of discrimination
Positive duty
Racial and religious vilification under the RRTA
Disputes about discrimination in Victoria
The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities
Commonwealth discrimination Acts
Further human rights protection
18. Accidents, Injury and Compensation
18.1 Negligence and Injury
Negligence and claims for damages
Establishing liability
Assessing damages
Wrongs Act
Limitation of Actions Act
Other matters
18.2 Transport Accident Injuries
Transport Accident Commission
Common law claims
18.3 Work Injuries
Work injuries
Workers compensation
Common law claims
18.4 Assistance for Victims of Crime
Introduction
Overview
Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT)
Tribunal procedure
Recovering compensation from the offender
Contacts
19. Health and Aged Care
19.1 Health Law
Introduction
Information and consent
Access to medical records
Privacy and confidentiality
Blood transfusions and organ transplants
Post-mortem examinations
Making a complaint
Further reading
19.2 Aged Care
Introduction
The Australian Government’s Residential Aged Care Program
Residents’ rights
Other Australian Government subsidised aged care services
Complaints and dispute resolution
Other supported and independent accommodation
20. Wills, Estates and Funerals
20.1 Wills
Introduction
Wills
Example of a will
20.2 Estates
Estates
Intestacy
Small estates
Duties payable
Income tax
Costs
20.3 Funerals
The funeral procedure
After burial or cremation
Death notices
Donation of body for anatomical research
Death certificates
Payment for a funeral
Transporting the body interstate
Complaints
21. Government and the Individual
21.1 Administrative Law
What is “administrative law”?
Where do I start?
Obtaining reasons for government decisions
21.2 Judicial Review
Nature of judicial review
Grounds of review - summary
Remedies in judicial review
The importance of time limits
Standing to sue
Grounds of review
Further reading
21.3 Administrative Appeals Tribunal
Reviewable decisions
Who may apply?
How do you apply?
Obtaining the Authority’s reasons
After lodging the application
Remedies
Costs
Special provisions
Right of appeal
21.4 Ombudsman
Commonwealth Ombudsman
Victorian Ombudsman
21.5 Privacy Rights
The right to privacy
The Privacy Act
Other legislation
Complaints to the Commissioner
Victoria privacy legislation
Contact details
21.6 Freedom of Information
Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth)
Freedom of Information Act (Vic)
21.7 Complaints against Victoria Police
Introduction
Types of complaint
Form of complaint
Investigation of complaints
Supporting your complaint
To lodge or not to lodge?
Legal action against police
Contacts
22. Immigration
22 Immigration
Entry to Australia
Entry by migrants
Citizenship
Removal and deportation
Review rights
Other merits review bodies
Freedom of Information (FoI)
Migration agents’ registration scheme
Victorian immigration law specialists
Dealing with DIAC
Contacts
23. Insurance
23.1 Insurance
Introduction
Codes of practice
Legislation
Insurance contracts
Agents and brokers
Duty of disclosure
Making a claim
Common claims problems
Ending an insurance contract
Resolution of insurance disputes
Privacy Act
Further reading
23.2 Motor Vehicle Property Damage
Insurance
What to do about damages
Settling out of court
Evidence
Damages
What to do after an accident
Further assistance
24. Rights and Reputation
24.1 Copyright and Associated Rights
What is copyright?
Ownership of copyright
Duration of copyright
Requirements for copyright to exist
Exclusive rights of copyright holders
Loss of copyright protection
Infringement of copyright
Moral rights
Performers’ protection
International copyright protection
Other copyright issues
Contacts
24.2 Defamation
What is defamation?
When are words defamatory?
Defences
Remedies
Assistance
Procedure
Further reading
extra glossary terms
Glossary
General Index
Legislation
List of Cases

:: Last updated: Sun Jun 30th 2013