Public Interest Law

Sometimes legal problems don’t fit neatly into the services free legal help providers can offer. That’s where our Public Interest Law team comes in.

We work with services to identify legal need in the public interest and provide expert legal help from our network of pro bono lawyers.

Unable to get legal help elsewhere?

We provide legal help for people who can’t afford a lawyer, don’t qualify for other free services, and have a legal matter that we consider to be in the public interest. You can apply for help through one of the three options below.

I need help

If no one else can help and your legal issue is in the public interest, we can connect you with lawyers or barristers who will help you for free.


Get help

I need to refer someone

If you’re supporting someone who needs legal help and has a legal problem that is in the public interest, make a referral to us.


Refer someone

I need help for my CLC

We can support your CLC’s legal work by connecting you with barristers to appear or provide a merits assessments, or lawyers to provide expert support.


Get help for your CLC

When our Public Interest Law team can help

We help with legal issues that are in the public interest, where our network of pro bono lawyers have expertise in the area of law, and where no other service can help.

What is public interest law?

Public Interest Law considers a matter to be in the public interest where either:

  • resolving the matter will have an impact beyond resolving the person’s legal issue
  • the impact of not receiving legal help will be particularly severe due to the person’s circumstances.

Unfortunately, some areas we cannot assist with are*:

  • commercial disputes
  • family law matters
  • criminal law matters
  • intervention orders
  • personal injury claims
  • neighbourhood disputes
  • visa applications
  • complaints about solicitors

*Except where a community legal centre or pro bono lawyer is instructing

When assessing an application, we consider the means of a person to pay for a private lawyer and may seek a merits assessment before agreeing to refer the matter.

Our focus areas

Our Public Interest Law team prioritises pro bono referrals in four areas. Each priority area was identified due to a gap in legal services to assist people disadvantaged by the justice system, and the need for systemic law reform. We dedicate extra time to referrals and advocacy within our priority areas, including by setting up clear referral pathways within our network of pro bono lawyers.

Our stories

These are just some of the stories of people we’ve helped fight for a fair deal.


Sam received the hormone therapy treatment he needed

"The lawyers were absolutely wonderful, taking the time to explain the process and supporting us throughout."

Read Sam's story
Photograph of Sam
Kirupa avoids an unfair bill

"If I am happy in my life now, it’s because of Justice Connect."

Read Kirupa's story
Photograph of Justice Connect client Kirupa