Areas of law
Guardianship and administration
In Queensland, people can apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a formal guardian or administrator to be appointed to manage different decisions on behalf of a person with disability. The application may request that the Office of the Public Guardian be appointed to make certain decisions, the Public Trustee be appointed to manage money, or even a friend or family member be appointed to do either or both.
However, not all people with disability need someone else to make decisions for them, and often people with disability would like to continue being their own decision maker. It can be extremely useful for a person with disability to have an advocate provide them advice or representation.
Queensland Advocacy Incorporated, Aged and Disability Advocacy, and LawRight all provide guardianship and administration advice and advocacy to people with disability. LawRight also has some great factsheets which help breakdown guardianship and administration matters. The Office of the Public Guardian also have a wide array of factsheets.
It should be noted that these organisations will only provide advice to the person with disability. If someone else other than the person with disability is seeking advice about guardianship or administration, they should contact Carers Queensland Guardianship and Advocacy Program.
Disability discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favorably, or not given the same opportunities as others in a similar situation, because of their disability. It can also occur when an unreasonable rule or policy is the same for everyone but has an unfair effect on people with a particular disability. Disability discrimination can also be called impairment discrimination. The Queensland Human Rights Commission have created a resource which outlines what impairment discrimination, when it is unlawful and when it is not. The Queensland Law Handbook has a chapter which covers both discrimination and human rights and explains both State and Federal processes.
In Queensland, the Queensland Human Rights Commission can assist in resolving a complaint about discrimination. However, in order to complain to the Queensland Human Rights Commission, it is important to ensure you are following the right complaints process. For advice about your complaint, you can call 1300 130 670 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
It can also be useful to connect with a Community Legal Centre who specializes in discrimination. To find a Community Legal Centre near you, use the Legal Centre Search on the Community Legal Centres Queensland website.
Family law covers all aspects of family relationships – breakdowns, divorce, care of children, financial support of children and former partners and property division.
Family law can be difficult to understand, so Legal Aid Queensland have put together a booklet which helps break it down: ‘You and family law’. Further support may be available from Legal Aid Queensland, and their Family law webpage can be a good place to start. It may also be beneficial to apply for a grant of aid from Legal Aid Queensland if going through Family Court proceedings.
In some circumstances, separation and divorce do not require solicitors and court involvement. To support people who can separate amicably, the Federal Government has developed an app, known as amica to help people separate as simply, quickly and affordably as possible.
Civil law covers a wide array of areas. Civil law can refer to consumer law, employment law, housing and tenancy law, personal injuries, and even the NDIS and Centrelink.
Because Civil law is such a large area, with different areas requiring specialist knowledge, it can be difficult to find which organisation or person is best placed to help. The first place to start is by using the Community Legal Centres Queensland Legal Centre Search tool. In this search engine, you can search the general area of law and find a Community Legal Centre near you. Alternatively, you can call Legal Aid Queensland on 1300 65 11 88 for assistance with finding legal help.
If you know what type of area your civil law issue relates to, the Queensland Law Handbook can be a great resource to understand what the next available steps are. Additionally, Caxton Legal Centre have some self-help kits to assist people to navigate areas of civil law.
Criminal law refers to involvement with the criminal justice system. People with disability could be engage with the criminal justice system either as an accused (or offender), or as a victim. If the Police are involved, usually the matter will fall under Criminal law. The matter may involve the Magistrates Court, the District Court, the Supreme Court, the Mental Health Court, the Childrens Court and Courts of Appeal. For people who are accused of a crime, it is important they connect with Legal Aid Queensland as soon as possible to secure legal assistance. You can do this by calling Legal Aid Queensland on 1300 65 11 88.
As Legal Aid funding is means tested, you may need to engage with a private criminal lawyer. The Queensland Law Society have a “Find a Solicitor” search engine, which can help identify lawyers who practice in the area of law needed.
In Queensland, those who are engaged with the criminal justice system (either as an accused or a victim) and have an intellectual impairment can seek advocacy assistance from Queensland Advocacy Incorporated’s Justice Support Program. The Justice Support Program can ensure that appropriate legal services are engaged, try to resolve the issue or cause of issue, engage other supports such as counselling or personal assistance and assist the person with disability to understand and comply with Court directions.