18 April 2023
A new campaign launched today will help people who are seeking legal advice to better understand their lawyer’s ethical obligations.
Developed in response to the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants (Recommendation 76), “Your Right to Ask” encourages people to ask their lawyer questions to help them understand their rights and how they can work with their lawyer.
The Victorian-first campaign was developed by the Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner, in conjunction with the Law Institute of Victoria, the Victorian Bar, Victoria Legal Aid and the Federation of Community Legal Centres, with support from a number of other legal organisations.
As more and more people seek legal help, building trust between clients and lawyers is integral to the legitimacy of the justice system.
A simple checklist has been created for the campaign, made up of questions people can ask their lawyer to ensure they understand their lawyer’s obligations to them as a client.
The questions cover how to prepare for their first appointment, what to do if conflicts of interest arise, how their lawyer might bill them and how their case might be managed.
In order to reach the diverse range of Victorians who access legal services, the campaign will run for 10 weeks, with information available in multiple languages.
Anyone looking to engage a lawyer should head to yourrighttoask.vic.gov.au to download the checklist and get support to ask their lawyer the right questions.
Quotes attributable to Victorian Legal Services Board CEO and Commissioner Fiona McLeay
“Public trust and confidence in the Victorian legal profession is critical. Lawyers provide vital services to the community and a positive and trusting relationship between lawyers and their clients is good for everyone.”
“While the events that led to the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants may have damaged some people’s confidence in lawyers, we know that most lawyers behave ethically. However concepts like conflict of interest, confidentiality and legal professional privilege can be complex and difficult for people to understand.”
“A client who feels comfortable asking questions is a client better empowered to make decisions.”
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