Carroll & O’Dea Pro Bono Projects: The MOSAIC Program
Published on June 2, 2016 by Adrian O’Dea
The MOSAIC program is just one of the Pro Bono projects that Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers supports as part of our engagement with the community and our commitment to provide access to high quality legal services for some of the most disadvantaged in the community.
MOSAIC (Migrant Outreach Services: Advice, Information, Community Education) is a key program of Justice Connects that Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers contribute to, providing practical legal advice and advocacy to recently arrived asylum seekers, refugees and migrants.
Arriving in a new country is daunting for anyone, let alone coming to grips with the myriad of legal problems that those coming to Australia can encounter every day.
The MOSAIC program is unique in that it brings together lawyers with wide experience to work face to face with clients in a supportive environment, providing immediate assistance to start resolving their problems.
It is a unique service for asylum seekers, refugees and recently arrived migrants and is a project that Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers is proud to support.
These problems cover the broad scope of issues that many of us deal with day to day however these can often seem insurmountable issues for those who have recently arrived in Australia.
Often without the benefit of knowing whom to turn to when a problem arises or being unable to communicate with service providers such as Telecommunication companies or Insurers in their own language, many of MOSAIC’s clients feel overwhelmed by their circumstances.
That is where the skill and expertise of our lawyers can cut through the problems and advocate on behalf of clients to seek redress, compensation and results.
Our MOSAIC clients include those who have suffered insurance fraud, had problems resolving motor vehicle accidents and a Mother who faced crippling medical bills when her newborn son needed urgent medical attention.
Other common problems Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers help MOSAIC clients address include dealing with penalty or infringement notices, assisting with the resolution of disputes with mobile telephone companies and tenancy disputes.
For many MOSAIC clients these are major challenges, for our lawyers they are problems to be resolved through robust advocacy on behalf of our clients.
The practical difference that MOSAIC makes to the lives of those it supports is found in the stories of those who have benefited as result of the time, commitment and dedication of all those who give of their time and expertise.
These stories also highlight the difficulties faced by MOSAIC clients in navigating issues.
Assistance with outstanding medical bills
Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers’ Lara Piercy worked with a client who arrived from China in 2008 seeking asylum and who gave birth in 2013. The woman paid upfront $6000 to cover the cost of the birth of her son, who required additional medical treatment soon after being born.
Our client was pursued by a Collections Agency for some $3700 in additional costs, on which she commenced a payment agreement of $50 per month for approximately 12 months.
The woman is on a bridging visa, has no access to Medicare, is not permitted to work and has limited financial means.
Our lawyers helped the woman request the hospital to waive the costs, which they did.
Insurance scam resolved
Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers’ Joshua Dale worked with a refugee who was involved in a car accident and sought assistance from his insurer to recover costs for a written off vehicle. Because Josh’s client couldn’t speak English and the Insurer had no interpreter, the client asked his flatmate who spoke English to liaise with the Insurer.
Sadly the flatmate fraudulently provided his own bank account details to the insurer who then paid out the claim of over $7,000 to him. He disappeared leaving our client with a written off car and no insurance money.
The insurer said they complied with their internal policy to speak with an authorised person and refused to pay the money to our client despite their negligence. After writing to the insurer did not produce a result a complaint was lodged with the Financial Ombudsman Service and after initial legal submissions were made on behalf of our client the insurer was convinced to reverse its decision and accepted liability.
The Insurer has now returned the insurance monies to their rightful owner.
Client on bridging visa seeks help with at fault car accident
Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers’ Lara Piercy worked with an Iraqi citizen who is in Australia on a bridging visa and who had been involved in a motor vehicle accident that was his fault.
As a result a collection company was seeking damages of approximately $4,100, clearly beyond his immediate capacity to pay.
Although being recently permitted to work our client had not been able to find a job. Yet he was still committed to working out a payment agreement and sought our assistance to find a resolution to the issue.
With our help the man’s proposal to pay off the debt with fortnightly payments of $40 was accepted by the collection agency.
These are just some of the case studies and stories of successful outcomes that have been achieved through the MOSAIC Program with the assistance of Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers.
We are committed to continuing to support this important Pro Bono service as well as our ongoing work in other important initiatives that support some of the most vulnerable in our community and provide them with equitable access to advocacy and legal support to which they are undeniably entitled.