Early Resolution Service
NCLC has received funding under the Justice Recovery Plan (JRP) to participate in an Early Resolution Service (ERS) for family violence intervention order (FVIO) matters. The purpose of the project is to provide legal assistance to people with family violence legal need prior to their court hearings and resolve them where possible.
The ERS is designed to deliver services more efficiently, while enhancing safety and preventing victims/survivors of family violence having to participate in extensive legal proceedings. Clients are primarily referred to our service either by Victoria Police or the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria in the weeks prior to their court hearing date.
NCLC has recently commenced provision of the family violence Early Resolution Service (ERS) at Broadmeadows Magistrate's Court.
Going to court for any reason can be a stressful experience. Nowhere is this more evident than the family violence intervention order list at the Magistrates' Court when applicants are often also dealing with relationship breakdown, fears for safety, and uncertain living arrangements.
The Early Resolution Service is a best practice model designed to not only address the backlog of family violence cases that have arisen due to COVID, but also streamline the process for family violence applicants and respondents. By ensuring that cases are referred early to legal advocates, both parties are provided with opportunities for negotiation which will hopefully lead to agreed outcomes incorporating appropriate safety provisions. In this way the court hearing becomes a ‘rubber-stamp’ exercise, as all parties have already reached a resolution by the time of the hearing. This process can significantly decrease the amount of time that parties spend in court, and ensures that legal representatives have plenty of time to fully assess the safety needs of their clients.
The Broadmeadows Magistrates Court, at which NCLC provides a family violence applicant duty lawyer service, has how commenced the ERS. Participation is voluntary, and applicants who agree to participate will be referred by the court in the first instance to the NCLC lawyer.