Who we can’t help

We cannot help with some types of legal problems like:

  • Criminal law problems*
  • Housing and tenancy issues*
  • Compensation claims
  • Family law, including divorce and custody disputes (but we can help with Stage 2 Applications for hormone treatment)
  • Migration and refugee claims
  • Complaints about professional negligence
  • Disputes regarding legal costs
  • Personal injury claims
  • Neighbourhood disputes, including fence disputes^
  • Planning disputes^
  • Small business problems^

* We may be able to assist with some criminal and tenancy issues if you are homeless or at risk of homelessness and living in Victoria through our Homeless Law Service. We assist with certain housing/tenancy problems where the matter is at the County or Supreme Court through our Victorian Self Representation Service.

^ There are some exceptions for disaster-related legal issues.

Our services are generally limited to people who live, or have their legal problem in Victoria and New South Wales. However, our Federal Self Representation Service assists people in certain court matters in Victoria, New South Wales, ACT and Tasmania.

If your problem falls in one of the above areas that we cannot help with, you might consider contacting one of the organisations below.

Where can I go for help?

Who else provides free help in Australia?

In Australia, there are two main providers of free legal assistance to people with legal problems: Legal Aid and Community Legal Centres. The best approach is to call your local Legal Aid in your State or Territory, or speak to your local Community Legal Centre to understand your options.

Legal Aid

Legal Aid is a government run legal service that only covers certain areas of law. These areas of law will vary from State to State. Generally, Legal Aid can provide some basic help to most people who call for the areas of law that Legal Aid covers (eg. some legal information over the phone).Legal Aid also offers one-off legal advice and representation for eligible people.

You can find more information about the Legal Aid in your State or Territory by visiting the Australian Government Attorney General’s Department website.

Community Legal Centres

Community Legal Centres are independent, not-for-profit legal centres. Community Legal Centres are often focussed on areas of law not covered by Legal Aid, or types of people who may need specialist assistance. There are generalist Community Legal Centres that provide a range of assistance to people in their local geographical area, and there are specialist community legal centres that provide their services to a particular group of people or for a particular areas of law.

You can find out more about Community Legal Centres and find your local Community Legal Centre through Community Legal Centres Australia. If there is a specialist community legal centre that covers your type of legal problem, you should speak to that specialist community legal centre.

Other ways to find help

For people in Victoria, the Law Handbook has a helpful section on finding legal help.

For people in NSW, Law Access can help you find legal help.

What if I can’t find free legal help?

If you are not eligible for assistance from a Legal Aid or a community legal centre (or you are not eligible for the level of assistance that you would like), you could consider paying for a lawyer. To find a lawyer that specialises in the area of law that your problem relates to, you can speak to the Law Society or Law Institute in your State or Territory. Some offer free 30-minute consultations with a lawyer.