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From 1 July 2017, the Infringements Act will be changed as part of Victoria's fines reform process. Please be aware of these reforms in relation to any infringements and fines assistance that you are providing to your clients. We are in the process of updating Homeless Law in Practice. See the Fines and Infringements Overview tab (to the left) for more information about the changes, and, if you're a Justice Connect Homeless Law pro bono lawyer, links to further materials about the changes.

Homeless Law provides legal advice and representation to clients with infringements for 'public space offences'. Public space offences are offences directly related to homelessness and include: being drunk in public; begging; using offensive language; littering; minor theft; failure to vote; public transport offences; and some parking or driving offences where the person is homeless or sleeping in their car at the time of the offences.

Fines for public space offences have a disproportionate and discriminatory impact on people experiencing homelessness because:

  • they are forced to conduct their lives in public spaces, which increases their exposure to receiving infringements (including for behaviour that is not illegal in private spaces such as drinking or swearing); and
  • they may have vulnerabilities in addition to homelessness, including mental illness or substance dependence, which can both lead to infringements and limit their ability to resolve the infringements through payment or engaging in the review process.

In addition to being more likely to incur infringements and less likely to be able to navigate the complex review process, people experiencing homelessness are hit much harder by the monetary penalty that infringements impose. 

This chapter aims to help you identify what type of fines or infringements your client has and what their options are for dealing with them.  It provides a range of template letters and resources to assist you to run an infringements matter effectively and efficiently.

If you are not a Homeless Law lawyer and you are assisting a client with infringements, have a look at the infringements guide for case workers.

- Legal Services Board Grants