Go to content

Client Service Charter

About us

Legal Aid NSW provides a range of legal services to socially and economically disadvantaged people through our Central Sydney office and 21 regional offices around NSW. Our mission is to provide high quality legal services to our clients and the community to assist them to resolve their legal problems.

We value integrity, honesty and professional expertise. We aim to provide courteous, timely and professional legal services to every client. We will ensure that clients receive an efficient standard of service that is fair and reasonable.

What we do

Legal Aid NSW provides legal advice and help in a range of matters, including criminal matters for adults and children, child support, family relationships, child welfare, tenancy, debt, social security, public interest, coronial inquests, discrimination, veteran’s entitlements and mental health. Legal advice is free. However, if you need more than a legal advice interview, you must complete an application form for a grant of aid for representation in legal proceedings.

You may be represented by a lawyer who works at Legal Aid NSW or a private lawyer funded by Legal Aid NSW. Your eligibility will be assessed against Legal Aid NSW guidelines. This type of legal assistance is not always free. We may ask you to contribute to your legal costs.

If you are granted legal aid, sometimes a Legal Aid NSW lawyer cannot assist you because we are acting for another person in your dispute. This is called conflict of interest.

It is important that you and the other party both receive independent legal advice. If a Legal Aid NSW lawyer is unable to help you because of a conflict of interest, we will arrange for a private lawyer to advise and represent you.

Application forms are available from all our offices or can be downloaded here

Our charter

This Charter sets out the service commitments that you can expect from us, and explains how you can help us continue to meet your expectations of high service standards.

We make sure we meet these service commitments by listening to feedback, responding to complaints and monitoring and reviewing our performance. We use client surveys and consult directly with client and stakeholder groups. We continuously measure our performance and report on it in our annual report.

Our commitment to you

We will provide:

  • a safe environment for you
  • a respectful, courteous and professional service
  • clear information about all our services
  • accurate and timely information or help you find it
  • an interpreter, if English is not your first language
  • help through the National Relay Service or TTY if you have a speech or hearing impairment
  • special assistance if you have a disability and need extra help.

We will collect, store, use and disclose your personal information only in accordance with Australian law.

Our staff aims to be efficient and responsive to your needs.

You can expect our staff to:

  • assist you within a reasonable time
  • advise you in advance about any delays in attending to you
  • advise you of interview arrangements in a timely manner
  • be impartial and open with you in dealing with your matter
  • treat any information you give us as
  • confidential, unless the law says otherwise
  • direct you to information or other agencies who can best assist you, when necessary
  • be responsive to your safety concerns if you are in a domestic violence situation.

Help us help you – we ask that you:

  • let staff know if you have a disability or need additional assistance
  • let staff know if you are concerned about your safety and need help in a domestic violence matter
  • let us know if you need an interpreter to use our services
  • provide our staff with all the facts and circumstances of your matter
  • tell us if you do not understand something and feel free to ask questions
  • give our staff all relevant documents as soon as possible
  • treat staff with courtesy and respect
  • not offer staff gifts, money or other favors

Applying for a grant of legal aid

If you need more than information and legal advice, Legal Aid NSW may provide a lawyer to help with your case. This is called being granted legal aid and involves a few more steps.

If you receive a grant of legal aid you can expect our staff to:

  • advise you about your grant of aid 5 to10 days after we receive your application
  • keep you advised on the progress of your matter
  • promptly inform you in writing about anything you need to do and what is likely to happen in your matter.

We need you to:

  • meet the terms and conditions of your grant (these are explained in the letter you will receive from Legal Aid NSW)
  • let us know if your details change. If you change your address, living arrangements or job while you are receiving our services, let us know as soon as possible.

If you are refused legal aid, or disagree with conditions of your grant, in many cases you can appeal the decision to an independent review committee.

Information and legal services

By phone

Sometimes a phone call can be enough to resolve a legal problem. Although Legal Aid NSW offices do not provide advice over the phone, you can start by calling LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529 (for free legal information, referral and in some cases, legal advice).

If you need to arrange a free advice interview, call your nearest Legal Aid NSW office

In person

We have 22 offices in metropolitan Sydney and regional locations.

Central Sydney is open between 8.30am and 5.30pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays). All other offices are open between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays).

Online

Information about our services, application forms for grants of legal aid and information brochures are available on our website.

Make a suggestion

You can make a suggestion about any aspect of the services we provide. We value your suggestions and comments as they help us to make improvements. If you think we are doing something well or could do it better, you can either tell a staff member directly or email: suggestions@legalaid.nsw.gov.au

Complaints

We are committed to a high quality service that is sensitive to clients’ individual needs. This includes dealing promptly with any complaints we receive.

How to make a complaint

If you have a complaint about our service, a staff member, or a private lawyer funded by Legal Aid NSW, contact the office or person you are dealing with. We will listen to you and where we can, we will try to resolve your complaint immediately.

If you still feel dissatisfied after talking to our staff, you can either fill in a complaint form or email us.

Ask staff for a copy of the brochure and form, How to complain to Legal Aid NSW.

If you need help filling in the form, ask a staff member to help you. If you do not wish to use this form you may simply provide your complaint in a letter or email.

You can hand the form in to your closest Legal Aid NSW office or send your complaint to:

Complaints, Legal Aid NSW
PO Box K847, Haymarket NSW 1240
or by email to:
complaints@legalaid.nsw.gov.au

At Legal Aid NSW we try to resolve complaints when we first receive them. If we cannot resolve your complaint on the spot, we aim to resolve the complaint within 21 days. If you are not satisfied with how we have resolved your complaint, you may contact the NSW Ombudsman on 9286 1000 or 1800 451 524 (free call outside Sydney); TTY 9264 8050 or email: nswombo@ombo.nsw.gov.au

Legal Aid NSW offices

Call LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529 for help over the phone, or your nearest Legal Aid office to arrange a free advice interview.  

 

Produced by the Publications Unit.