Who we can’t help

We cannot help with some types of legal problems like:

  • Most criminal law problems (but we may be able to help with some criminal law problems if you are homeless and in Melbourne)
  • Compensation claims
  • Family law, including divorce and custody disputes (but we can help with Stage 2 Applications for hormone treatment)
  • Visa applications
  • Complaints about professional negligence
  • Disputes regarding legal costs Neighbourhood disputes,including fence disputes
  • Personal injury claims
  • Wills and probate matters

If your problem falls in one of the areas where we cannot help with, you should not continue answering questions. We will provide you with information on where else to look for legal help.

Where can I look 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 (government run free legal services)
  • community legal centres (independent, not-for-profit legal centres) – there are general community legal centres that provide assistance to people in their local area, and there are specialist community legal centres that provide their services to a particular group of people (eg. youth, or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) or for a particular area of law (eg. consumer law).

Legal Aid only covers certain areas of law (these vary from state to state). Community legal centres are often focussed on areas of law not covered by Legal Aid, or types of people who may need specialist assistance.

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). In some locations, Legal Aid offers a small amount of advice to all people before they apply eligibility criteria.

Some community legal centres offer drop-in clinics where people can get limited one-off legal help without needing to meet eligibility criteria.

Generally, to access ongoing legal assistance from Legal Aid or from a community legal centre, you need to be on a low income or receiving Government benefits, or have some other special circumstances  (eg. be seeking assistance to exit a violent relationship, or be suffering from a mental illness). There are exceptions to this general rule for certain types of legal problems, or for certain groups of people.

The best approach is to call your local Legal Aid Commission and speak to your local Community Legal Centre to understand your options.

Where can I find these organisations?

If you are looking for legal assistance, you should try the Legal Aid operating in your State or Territory, and you should also speak to your local community legal centre.

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

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

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