Shared from the 7/2/2019 Heidelberg Leader eEdition

Legal first boost for region

Free service welcomes Somali lawyer


Lawyer Yusuf Mohamud (right) with client Abdullahi Hussin. Picture: Andy Brownbill

The first Somali-Australian lawyer in Victoria is the newest addition to the West Heidelberg Community Legal Service team.

Yusuf Mohamud is heavily sought after in the community, and he’s proposed a local service undertake the state Work Development Permit Scheme, where people participate in community work to reduce traffic and public transport fines.

Mr Mohamud hosts a free drop-in legal service every Friday at Bell St Mall.

He said a lot of his clients were refugees with limited English who weren’t aware free legal advice was available to them.

Most of the issues his clients bring to him are tenancy-related or the accumulation of fines.

“They’re not sure what their options are so their fines accumulate and it pushes them further into poverty,” he said.

Abdiaziz Farah of Himilo Community Connect said they would take the permit scheme on in an attempt to educate vulnerable people and provide them with a link to their community.

“We want to keep people out of the justice system,” Mr Farah said.

West Heidelberg Community Legal Service principal lawyer Stephanie Price said Mr Mohamud identified a recurring issue and saw a need for change.

“The community has challenges but they’re very well connected. With the right programs like this, they can thrive,” Ms Price said.

Many clients travel from as far as Flemington and Tarneit, seeking legal advice from a fellow Somalian.

“The Somali community has been here for 20 years, the community is starting to grow its own feet and I want to provide them with a better understanding of the law,” Mr Mohamud said.

The drop-in free legal service is open every Friday at the Harmony Centre, 48 Bell St Mall, West Heidelberg. Phone: 8582 9501.

See this article in the e-Edition Here