Referring to Justice Connect
Justice Connect’s Public Interest Law Service matches people experiencing disadvantage due to legal problems with lawyers in our pro bono network.
Due to high demand for free legal assistance, we prioritise matters that we consider to be in the public interest, or where a person is especially vulnerable.
Generally, the Public Interest Law Service operates on a referral basis, meaning it does not take requests for assistance by phone directly from the public—requests need to come via a professional (such as another lawyer, or a social worker).
Our eligibility criteria includes the following:
- Can the person afford a lawyer? We consider the expenses likely to be involved in the case, along with the individual’s assets and income to help determine an answer to this question. If a person can afford a lawyer, generally the Public Interest Law Service will not assist.
- Is the person eligible for Legal Aid? If they are, they are unlikely to be eligible for assistance through the Public Interest Law Service.
- Is the legal issue in an area of law covered by lawyers in our pro bono network? We can rarely help with criminal law, family law, compensation claims or visa applications.
- Does the person have a legal problem with a likelihood of success, that is, if the legal issue involves a claim against someone else, or defending a claim where there is a reasonable chance of success?
- Is providing pro bono representation in the public interest?
What does “public interest” mean?
Public interest can refer to a legal issue involving an important point of law that is uncertain and requires clarification, or a case relating to an important right affecting a sector of the community.
On occasion, we also consider assisting people with serious legal issues that will significantly affect their lives, where they would otherwise not access legal assistance, in the public interest.