volunteer-run group

Proud to assist vital community group, Scleroderma Victoria

11 April 2016

Scleroderma Victoria is a small volunteer-run group which provides support, information and advocacy for those living with scleroderma and their families. The organisation received portable oxygen concentrators (medical equipment) as part of a bequest, and started to loan these to terminally ill members who have lung complications due to scleroderma.

The organisation required a loan agreement which would properly protect them (as far as possible) from liability in the event of something going wrong with the equipment. As a charitable organisation, Scleroderma Victoria did not have the funds to pay a lawyer, and approached Justice Connect for assistance.

Upon hearing of the charity’s need through Justice Connect, Rigby Cooke Lawyers were pleased to offer pro-bono legal assistance to Scleroderma Victoria.

“We are very grateful to Rigby Cooke Lawyers…They did an excellent job for us.”

– Jennene Caton, Scleroderma Victoria

On the instructions of Scleroderma Victoria, Rigby Cooke prepared a loan agreement for the hire of medical equipment by Scleroderma Victoria to its members, most of whom are at the end of life or near end of life. The document was a drafted in plain English to ensure it could be understood by Scleroderma Victoria’s members and it contained appropriate provisions to limit Scleroderma Victoria’s liability as far as reasonably practicable.

Julia Cameron, Rigby Cooke Lawyers’ Corporate & Commercial Partner responsible for the matter, noted “Scleroderma Victoria was an unique client to work alongside, with such deep social conscience and charitable intent, so it was a pleasure to provide them with the support they needed to continue providing this service to the community.”

Julia found Scleroderma Victoria to be “Wonderful to work with. They were clearly very committed volunteers, who responded to emails over the weekend to ensure that everything was completed in time.”

Jennene Caton from Scleroderma Victoria was similarly impressed by the service provided by Rigby Cooke: “We are very grateful to Rigby Cooke Lawyers. They had to first gain an understanding of what scleroderma is and why portable oxygen concentrators are needed and what the risks may be. They did an excellent job for us.”

Without this assistance, Jennene notes that Scleroderma Victoria would have had to “Divert funds used to help people with the debilitating disease scleroderma. Alternatively, we would have had to cease the loan of machines to terminally ill members, as the risk of liability would have been too great.”

Rigby Cooke believes in contributing to the community in which we live and work.

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