25 June 2020: Unscrupulous lawyers target abuse survivors
ABC program Background Briefing aired a story this week regarding law firms which apparently sign up abuse survivors to do redress claims either without being crystal clear that they will charge fees, or charging overly high fees.
Knowmore Legal Service is funded by the government to assist survivors make claims on the National Redress Scheme. Knowmore’s service is free. Angela Sdrinis Legal recommends that clients use Knowmore for redress claims as we do charge fees for this work because we do not receive government funding for redress claims. Sometimes our clients prefer to stay with Angela Sdrinis Legal to do a redress claim rather than going to a new law firm, but we always provide our clients with this option. It would be inappropriate not to let clients know about a free service.
Angela Sdrinis Legal has been representing survivors of institutional child abuse since the firm’s establishment in 2014. Angela Sdrinis, Managing Director of the firm, is a pioneer in this field: she has been doing these claims for about 25 years.
It is clear that since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, more firms have become interested in child abuse compensation claims. We hear stories of lawyers handing out business cards to victims at criminal trials for abuse claims; lawyers encouraging clients to issue proceedings in court for claims which could be settled out of court achieving similar results for the client though resulting in much lower legal fees paid to the lawyer; and other concerning practices.
Angela Sdrinis Legal prides itself on its victim-centred approach to compensation claims. We are realistic with our clients about the likely costs in their matters and the costs and benefits of litigation vs out-of-court settlements. We also encourage clients to make redress claims (via Knowmore as referred to above) if we think this is the best option for them rather than advise them to engage in more costly and potentially more triggering common law claims.
We are absolutely committed to getting the best results for our clients and working with them in a trauma-informed manner. Angela Sdrinis Legal is proud of our reputation in the field. Child abuse survivors have already suffered terrible abuse and they should not be further traumatised by unscrupulous law firms when trying to secure compensation.
By Nina Vallins
Solicitor at Angela Sdrinis Legal