In an Australian-first for the legal assistance sector, Moonee Valley Legal Service recently launched FineFixer – a new website that provides personalised legal information to help Victorians understand their legal rights and how to tackle fines.
More than 5 million fines are issued each year in Victoria alone. This, coupled with a lack of understanding of the tools and services available to help manage payments, has led to Victoria Legal Aid and community legal centres being inundated with requests for assistance.
FineFixer has been developed to help people understand their rights and pay fines using a simple, quick and easy process. FineFixer enables people to act earlier, preventing the accumulation of costs and penalties and freeing up valuable time for community legal centres and Legal Aid.
FineFixer was designed by students at RMIT’s Fastrack Innovation Program, which tackles society-level problems using a design-driven approach to innovation. This program brings together outstanding students from diverse programs and backgrounds, with subject matter experts from industry to conceive, test and develop innovative solutions to real-world challenges. Winning the program’s ‘Most Viable Solution Award’ in 2015, FineFixer gained strong support from the legal sector, with Moonee Valley Legal Service receiving a grant from Victoria Law Foundation to help bring the concept to fruition. The website’s design and development were by PaperGiant, a research-led design and development studio.
Brendan Lacota, Principal Lawyer at Moonee Valley Legal Service, sees much potential for emerging technologies in supporting legal services. ‘Smart tools like FineFixer are essential for meeting the growing need for legal services. FineFixer offers a free and fast way for people with fines to identify and understand their options, and gives them the tools they need to take action without getting further into debt.’
The Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS) has also recognised the importance of FineFixer. Speaking at FineFixer’s launch last week, VCOSS CEO Emma King highlighted its value: ‘By helping people at the start of the process to know their rights and navigate the bureaucracy, FineFixer will help thousands of Victorians keep their lives – and their finances – on track.’
For more information about FineFixer, visit www.finefixer.org.au.
FineFixer received a grant from Victoria Law Foundation. Do you have an idea for a project that will help Victorians to better understand the law, like FineFixer has? Applications for Victoria Law Foundation’s 2017-18 General Grants are now open and will close on 28 August 2017. For more information, visit www.victorialawfoundation.org.au.