To determine eligibility Balit Ngulu will
- enquire as to the Aboriginality of the client;
- enquire as to perceived or actual conflict of interest;
- enquire as to compliance with the Means Test;
- consider the merit of the client’s matter.
The first time an ATSI youth uses Balit Ngulu they must endeavour to provide proof of their Aboriginality using the Confirmation of Aboriginality Form. This form must be signed and sealed by the Officer Bearers of a recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation.
Balit Ngulu must not decline to provide assistance to an eligible Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander youth. In circumstances where the relationship between the parties to a case would result in a conflict of interest, that conflict must be managed in accordance with the Victorian Legal Practice requirements and Policy Direction 9 – “Managing Conflicts of Interest” – of theAttorney-General’s Department Policy Directions for the Delivery of Legal Aid Services to Indigenous Australians (2008).
Balit Ngulu will not act if a conflict of interest exists. A conflict of interest may be an ‘actual’ conflict of interest or a ‘perceived’ conflict of interest. A conflict of interest can involve:
- Clients who have different interests, such as Balit Ngulu may have advised or acted for person “A” (old client) who has an interest that conflicts with person “B” (intended new client).
- Clients and Balit Ngulu, such as a Balit Ngulu staff member or Board Member has an interest that conflicts with an intended new client. Conflicts involving client-provider relationships are:
o An owner, director, manager, employee, contractor or agent of VALS and/or;
o An employee of the Department; and/or
o A close relative (spouse, de facto, parent, sibling or child) of any of the above.
Balit Ngulu provides assistance on a first in best dressed basis (i.e. provide direct assistance to the party who approaches Balit Ngulu first). Balit Ngulu will refer the other party to another legal service provider or “brief out” the client to a private lawyer (subject to the client meeting the requirements for brief outs). Where appropriate, Balit Ngulu may act for one client and provide assistance by brief out to the other.
Where a person seeks casework assistance, Balit Ngulu must ensure that applicants satisfy the Means Testing provisions of the Policy Directions.
Balit Ngulu must ensure that all applicants for legal casework assistance are aged between 10 and 18 years of age and have matters within the Children’s Court of Victoria where they related to criminal or child protection matters.
Balit Ngulu will primarily be delivering legal services to Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander youth within the following locations:
- Morwell; and
Balit Ngulu may be able to assist Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander youth outside of these priority areas where resources allow.
Discretion will be used to determine if a particular case has merit.