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Jenny helped to defend against sham contract

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"Jenny was nervous and unsure when she first came to us. I watched her gain confidence throughout the process. Being able to help Jenny was very satisfying." Daria McLachlan, Sparke Helmore Lawyers

Jenny was referred to JusticeNet by the Young Workers Legal Service (YWLS). The YWLS had offered to help Jenny recover unpaid wages for administrative services she provided to a small business in the Adelaide CBD. Jenny had worked at the business for approximately 6 months in 2013. She endured very difficult working conditions and eventually left when it became clear the business was not a success.

The business owner responded to the efforts of the YWLS by threatening legal proceedings against Jenny. The business owner alleged Jenny had entered into a partnership agreement and was liable for a share of the debts of the failed business. The YWLS could not represent Jenny due to limited resources and so referred her to JusticeNet.

Sparke Helmore Lawyers accepted a referral from JusticeNet to help Jenny. Shortly thereafter, the business owner lodged a claim for $13,500 against Jenny in the Magistrates Court Minor Civil Division. At the time she was served with the claim, Jenny was 22 years of age and was working casually a waitress. 

Luke Holland and Daria McLachlan from Sparke Helmore Lawyers acted for Jenny throughout her matter. Although they could not appear for her in court (being a Minor Civil Matter), they spent approximately 70 hours advising and assisting Jenny with every aspect of her defence including discovery, submissions, strategy and preparation for court appearances. In particular, the claim against her was lacking in particulars and evidence and, with the help of her lawyers, Jenny was able to put the Plaintiff to proof of her claims.

Despite the flimsy evidence, the business owner was determined to pursue the matter to trial. The matter was heard in August 2015 and Luke and Daria arranged for an experienced law clerk to accompany Jenny. To Jenny’s great relief, the Magistrate dismissed the case brought against her in its entirety.

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Luke Holland and Daria McLachlan, Sparke Helmore Lawyers

First published 30 Mar 2016
Image credit: Amy Hirschi

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