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Help at NSW courts and tribunals

Local Court

  • Criminal matters

    Duty lawyers are available at all local courts in NSW for criminal law matters, Centrelink charges and driving and traffic offences where there is a real risk of imprisonment. They cannot help you if you have pleaded not guilty and your matter is listed for hearing that day. If possible it is best to get legal advice before you go to court. Find a Legal aid NSW advice service near you. Call our Youth Hotline on 1800 10 18 10 for advice if you are under 18 and have committed, or are suspected of committing, a criminal offence.

  • Family law and child support matters

    Duty lawyers are available at some NSW local courts for family law and child support. Contact your local Legal Aid NSW office to find out if this service is available.

  • Care and protection matters

    A duty lawyer is always available for care and protection matters. Even if they are not present at the court, court staff will contact Legal Aid NSW or a private lawyer if you request assistance.

  • Domestic violence matters
    • Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service staff are available at many courts in NSW to assist women applying for apprehended domestic violence orders. They cannot provide legal advice.
    • The Domestic Violence Unit or the Domestic Violence Practitioner Scheme lawyers, based in a number of local courts across NSW, give free advice to women experiencing domestic violence (including police clients) on ADVOs, family law, care and protection and victim’s support.
    • The Apprehended Violence Order Duty Representation service at Mt Druitt Local Court provides advice and assistance to defendants, who would otherwise have to represent themselves in domestic violence proceedings. It helps defendants achieve workable orders.

Children’s Court

  • Criminal matters -

    There are duty lawyers at Bidura, Campbelltown, Parramatta, Broadmeadow and Port Kembla Children’s Courts. At other locations in NSW, the local court sits as the children’s court. The duty lawyer at those courts will assist children and juveniles. The Legal Aid NSW Children's Legal Service provides representation at these courts.

  • Care and protection matters -

    A duty lawyer is always available for care and protection matters. Even if they are not present at the court, court staff will contact Legal Aid NSW or a private lawyer if you request assistance.

  • Children's Court Assistance Scheme -

    The Children’s Court Assistance Scheme provides trained youth workers in Children’s Court criminal matters to assist young people and their families when going to court.

Family Law Courts

  • Lawyers at the Family Law Courts in Parramatta, Sydney and Newcastle provide advice and assistance with procedure for family law matters including children’s matters (live with, spend time with and specific issues), child support and property. Contact your local Legal Aid NSW office to find out if duty lawyers are available for Federal Circuit Court circuits.

Other Courts and Tribunals

  • Administrative Appeals Tribunal (General Division) (Tier 2) – Centrelink matters

    Our lawyers can advise clients with Centrelink matters on Tuesday mornings and every second Wednesday afternoon. Contact the AAT on 1800 228 333 (metropolitan) or 1300 366 700 (country) for an appointment.

  • NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)

    A Legal Aid NSW lawyer is available at the Sydney registry of NCAT to give advice on discrimination matters on the first Thursday of each month between 2.00 and 5.00 pm.  You should call NCAT on 1300 006 228 to make an appointment.

    Starting in November, 2015 Legal Aid NSW will provide a weekly advice service at NCAT Registries in Liverpool, Penrith, Wollongong, Tamworth and Newcastle. Advice is for consumers who have already lodged their applications at the tribunal. Call to make an appointment:

    • Liverpool on Mondays starting 2 November, 2015 - 8785 3196

    • Tamworth on Mondays starting 2 November, 2015 - 5776 5496

    • Newcastle on Tuesdays starting 4 November, 2015 - 4908 8196

    • Penrith on Thursdays starting 12 November, 2015 - 4777 8696

    • Wollongong on Fridays starting 13 November, 2015 - 4239 6596
  • District Court

    If you have a matter in the District Court and you don't have a lawyer you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.

    If you have appealed against a conviction or sentence imposed in the local court and you wish to be represented by a legal aid lawyer you should apply for legal aid as soon as possible.

    Duty lawyers are available at some district courts for district court appeal matters for a first appearance only (if you are in custody).

  • Drug Court

    All participants referred to the Drug Court are represented by Legal Aid NSW while their matters are before the Drug Court. All participants must be referred by a court.

  • Mental Health Review Tribunal

    Duty lawyers provide assistance with Involuntary Patient Orders, Community Treatment orders, Protected Estates Act orders and Appeals against detention.

  • Parole Authority

    Duty lawyers assist with Parole Hearings, Revocation hearings, reviews of segregation directions and visiting Magistrate Proceedings.

  • Supreme Court - mortgage matters.

    Duty lawyers from Legal Aid NSW provide people who are having their homes repossessed or have other mortgage issues with advice and assistance including help with drafting documents.