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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 the Legal Aid NSW. Our lawyers advise and represent children and young people under 18 involved in criminal cases in the Children's Courts. Our aim is to ensure that children and young people have access to professional, face-to-face or telephone-based legal advice at any stage of their legal proceedings.

Help at court

We have duty lawyers at these Children's Courts:

  • Bidura Children's Court: 357 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe
  • Campbelltown Children's Court: Cnr Railway and Queen Sts
  • Hornsby Children's Court: 294 Pacific Highway
  • 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

At other Children's Courts around New South Wales, Legal Aid provides private duty solicitors to advise and represent children and young people. By law, young people have the right to get legal advice before making a formal statement to police.

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

Help in detention

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

We visit:

  • Acmena, Grafton
  • Cobham, Werrington
  • Emu Plains
  • Frank Baxter, Gosford
  • Juniperina, Lidcombe
  • Kariong, 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.

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 Weekdays: 9am to midnight; Friday to Sunday, public holidays: 24 hrs.

Contact us

  • Sydney: 9219 5120 (Bidura Children's Court)
  • Parramatta (Parramatta Children's Court): 8688 3800
  • Campbelltown: 4628 2922 (Campbelltown Children's Court)
  • Sutherland: 9521 3733 (Sutherland and Port Kembla Children's Courts)

Other useful contacts

  • Inner City Legal Centre (Darlinghurst) 9332 1966
  • Macquarie 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.

Aboriginal contacts

All Aboriginal people who are taken into police custody are legally entitled to speak immediately to a lawyer from the Aboriginal Legal Service. All police stations have been supplied with the number, which can be called 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For other questions about the law, Aboriginal people should call 9318 2122 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. Wirringa Baiya (Aboriginal Women's Legal Centre) assists young Aboriginal people. Call 9569 3847 or 1800 686 587 (outside Sydney).

More copies can be ordered online at the 'Order a publication' page.

For more information contact LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529.

August 2012