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Migrants and refugee students learn about their legal rights

Western Sydney courts host open days for multicultural students

Publication date: Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Fairfield and Liverpool courthouses have opened their doors to nearly 500 multicultural students to help them understand their legal rights and how they can access support when they need it.

The students, who are studying English at Navitas, come from a variety of backgrounds including Iraq, Syria, Vietnam, Burma, Afghanistan and Thailand. 

The annual court open days offered the newly-arrived migrants and refugees the opportunity to learn about the NSW justice system and how courts operate in NSW.

Students were given an overview of the local courts in Western Sydney including registry services, court procedures and a tour of each of the courthouses and NSW police officers shared information about the wide range of free support services available to help domestic violence victims. 

They learned about the driving licence regime, demerit points, the dangers of drink driving and how to pay fines through the Work and Development Order Scheme. Students also observed a mock trial that involved criminal charges for traffic offences, some of the most common matters to appear in the Local Court.

Many of the students have been in NSW for less than six months, and may have had negative experiences with authorities in their homeland.

The open days help to tackle myths about police and the courts, and give the students some insight in to the NSW justice system, which does not tolerate corruption.

South West Sydney Legal Centre (SWSLC), Legal Aid NSW’s Refugee Services, Core Community Services, Victims Services, LawAccess NSW, Services NSW, the Anti-Discrimination Board, Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW, Navitas and other local service providers also took part in this fantastic event, which has been a great success at various metropolitan and regional NSW locations in recent years. 

The events were developed as a joint partnership between the Diversity Services unit of the Department of Communities and Justice, Legal Aid NSW, the NSW Police Force and the Law Society of NSW. 

The open days help multicultural students to understand the NSW justice system and how to access legal support.