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Legal advice

Legal Aid NSW provides one-off free legal advice to people about a range of legal issues.
  1. What is legal advice?

    A lawyer will give you one-off free legal advice about your issue. They will also tell you whether you may be eligible for further assistance or a grant of legal aid for a lawyer to represent you in your case. They might be able to provide help with simple documents if you do not have a lawyer. They will not be able to help you with complex legal documents.

    The advice session is generally about 15 to 20 minutes. This amount of time does not allow our lawyers to give you detailed legal advice about complex matters.

    If Legal Aid NSW is not able to help you further they may be able to give you information about where you can go for more help.

  2. Who can get legal advice?

    Anyone can use our advice services.

    However, there are some situations where we might not be able to give you legal advice. For example, if we have already given legal advice to the party you are in dispute with we may not be able to give you legal advice. This is because lawyers are not allowed to advise both parties to a dispute and we will have a 'conflict of interest'.  If this happens we will refer you to another legal service for help. Even if there is a conflict of interest you might still be eligible to get a grant of legal aid for a private lawyer to be paid by Legal Aid NSW to represent you.

  3. What can I get advice about?

    We provide free and confidential face-to-face legal advice on most legal issues, including:

    • Criminal law – people facing criminal charges.
    • Family law – issues arising from family breakdown (especially matters involving children), domestic violence and child support.
    • Civil law – we specialise in housing law, consumer law including credit, debt and mortgage matters, discrimination, social security, immigration (only at Central Sydney office), mental health and guardianship law. We also provide help with floods.

    Please see below for areas of law that we don't provide advice in.

  4. Are there any areas that I can't get advice in?

    We don't provide advice about the following areas of law.

    • Business matters, including new business information, partnerships, contracts, leases and franchises (unless the problem is connected to an issue with a friend or family member such as divorce, a partner's debt or being a guarantor for a loan).
    • Commercial investment matters.
    • Conveyancing.
    • Written employment contracts for new employment before entering into the contract. We might be able to provide legal advice about the employment contract once a client is in employment depending on how complex the contract is.
    • Local planning and development disputes.
    • Taxation matters.
    • While we can provide advice on wills, powers of attorney and guardianship appointments, we cannot prepare these documents for you.
    • Workers compensation.
    • Intellectual property/trademarks/patents.
    • Strata title disputes if you have not yet tried mediation (unless your dispute is about strata title levy debts).
    • Neighbourhood disputes if you have not yet tried mediation.
    • Legal advice about retirement village contracts before entering into a contract. However, we do provide legal advice once you are in a retirement village.
    • Disputes within not-for profit-organisations/articles of association.

    Contact the free legal assistance line LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529 to find out who else may be able to help you with these matters.

  5. Where can I get legal advice?

    Our lawyers give free legal advice at locations across New South Wales including legal aid offices, courts, community organisations, prisons and hospitals.

    Call the free legal help line LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529 to find a service near you or search for a Legal Aid NSW service near you. Some advice services are drop-in and others need an appointment so it is best to ring first.

    If you are under 18 and need advice about a criminal law problem, or think you might be in trouble with the police you can call our Youth Hotline on 1800 10 18 10 (toll free). The Hotline is open Monday to Friday from 9.00am to midnight, and 24 hours on weekends and public holidays.

    If you need assistance with a family law matter call our Early Intervention Unit on 1800 551 589 to find out where you can get advice.

    If you need advice on a child support matter call our Child Support Service on 1800 451 784 to find out where you can get advice.

  6. Do I have to pay for legal advice?

    Legal advice is free. You do not need to apply for a grant of legal aid to get legal advice and you do not have to meet any eligibility criteria to use the service.

    However, if you get a grant of legal aid you will probably have to pay a contribution towards the cost of your matter. The amount you have to pay depends on how much you earn, how much you own and the type of legal matter.

  7. Can I get advice over the phone or by email?

    If you need help over the phone start by calling the free legal help line, LawAccess NSW, on 1300 888 529 (cost of a local call from within NSW).

    The person you first speak to won't be a lawyer but they can point you in the right direction.

    • They can provide you with information about your legal problem that might answer your question.
    • If you still need help they can tell you the best place to go for assistance.

    If you are under 18 and need advice about a criminal law problem, or think you might be in trouble with the police you can call our Youth Hotline on 1800 10 18 10 (toll free). The Hotline is open Monday to Friday from 9.00am to midnight, and 24 hours on weekends and public holidays.

    To find out where you can get advice on child support matters call our Child Support Service on 1800 451 784.

    Our lawyers give free legal advice at locations across NSW including at legal aid offices, courts, community organisations, prisons and hospitals. Search for a Legal Aid NSW service near you.

    Legal Aid NSW does not provide legal advice by email.

  8. Can I get an interpreter or help communicating?

    If you need someone who speaks your own language to help you make an appointment with Legal Aid NSW, call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450 (9am – 5pm). Ask your interpreter to connect you to the Legal Aid NSW office nearest to you.

    If you need an interpreter for your appointment with one of our lawyers, let us know when you make your appointment. We will arrange a free interpreter.

  9. What do I need to do before seeing a lawyer?

    Bring any paperwork that is relevant to your legal problem, such as court papers and letters.

    Work out what you want help with to make best use of your time with the lawyer. It might help to write down the main points of what has happened.

  10. What if I need more help?
    If you need more than legal advice, we may ask you to fill in an application form for a grant of legal aid so a lawyer can represent you in your case.  We can help you fill in the form. We can also refer you to other services for help. See also FAQ about applying for legal aid.