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Children’s Legal Service: helping young people in trouble with the law

Who we are

The Children's Legal Service is a specialist unit of Legal Aid NSW.

We help children and young people under 18 who are involved in criminal cases in the Children's Courts.

Our aim is to make sure that children and young people can get professional, face-to-face or telephone legal advice at any stage of their court case.

We can help at court

We have lawyers (called duty lawyers) at these Children's Courts:

  • Surry Hills Children’s Court: 66-78 Albion Street, Surry Hills
  • Campbelltown Children's Court: Cnr Railway and Queen Sts
  • Illawarra Children's Court (Port Kembla): Darcy Road, Port Kembla
  • Sutherland Children's Court: Cnr Flora and Belmont Sts
  • Parramatta Children's Court: Cnr George and O'Connell Sts
  • Nowra Children’s Court: 88 Plunkett St, Nowra
  • Wyong Children’s Court: cnr Hely St & Anzac Ave, Wyong
  • Woy Woy Children’s Court: 78-80 Blackwall Rd, Woy Woy
  • Broadmeadow Children’s Court: 19-23 Lambton Rd, Broadmeadow
  • Raymond Terrace: 59 William St, Raymond Terrace
  • Singleton: 39 Elizabeth St, Singleton

At other Children's Courts in New South Wales, Legal Aid NSW pays private lawyers to advise and represent children and young people.

The law says that young people have the right to get legal advice before they make a statement to police.

When a young person is going to court, they should ask to see the duty solicitor before they go into the court room.

We can help over the phone

Young people who need advice about a criminal law problem or think they might be in trouble with the law can call the Youth Hotline on 1800 10 18 10.

The Hotline is open:

  • weekdays from 9.00 am to midnight
  • Friday to Sunday and public holidays—24 hours.

We can help young people in detention

Our lawyers visit juvenile justice centres to help young people in custody. We can also help with bail applications and appeals.

We visit:

  • Acmena, (Grafton)
  • Cobham, (Werrington)
  • Frank Baxter, (Gosford)
  • Orana, (Dubbo)
  • Reiby, (Campbelltown)
  • Riverina, (Wagga Wagga)

If young people want to see a visiting lawyer, they should ask a worker to put their name on the list to see Legal Aid NSW.

Contact the Legal Aid Children’s Legal Service

  • Sydney: 9219 5120 (Surry Hills Children's Court)
  • Parramatta: 9066 6000 (Parramatta Children's Court)
  • Campbelltown: 4628 2922 (Campbelltown Children's Court)
  • Wollongong: 4228 8299 (Sutherland, Port Kembla and Nowra Children's Courts)
  • Newcastle: 4929 5482 (Broadmeadow, Raymond Terrace, Wyong, Singleton and Woy Woy Children’s Courts)

Other useful contacts

  • Inner City Legal Centre (Kings Cross) 1800 244 481
  • Western Sydney Legal Centre 8833 0911
  • Marrickville Legal Centre 9559 2899
  • National Children's and Youth Law Centre 9385 9588
  • Shopfront Youth Legal Centre (Darlinghurst) 9322 4808
  • General legal centres can also help young people Call 1800 10 18 10 (9am–5pm) to find the closest centre.
  • The Law Society of NSW can refer young people to private lawyers in their area: 9926 0300 or 1300 888 529 (outside Sydney).
  • Youth Workers: call your local council.
  • Alcohol and Drug Information Service: Provides 24 hour telephone advice, information and referral 9361 8000. Outside Sydney metro area (freecall): 1800 422 599.

Help for Aboriginal people

Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) (ALS)

The Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) gives free legal advice and legal representation. Call the ALS on 1800 765 767 during working hours. Anyone
who is under 18 and cannot contact the Aboriginal Legal Service can call the Legal Aid Youth Hotline on 1800 10 18 10.

Custody Notification Service

All Aboriginal people who are taken into police custody have a right to talk to a lawyer from the Aboriginal Legal Service.  They can do this by calling the Custody Notification Service (CNS)—a legal advice and RUOK phone line for Aboriginal people in police custody.

All police stations have the number of the CNS which can be called 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women's Legal Centre

Wirringa Baiya is a community legal centre for Aboriginal women, children and young people who live in NSW. They give free legal advice and representation if there is family violence.

Call 9569 3847 or 1800 686 587 (outside Sydney).

© Legal Aid NSW 2018

This publication is a general guide to the law. You should not rely on it as legal advice, and we recommend that you talk to a lawyer about your situation.

The information is correct at the time of printing. However it may change. For more information contact LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529.