Go to content

How Legal Aid can help you

What legal problems can we help you with?

Everyday legal problems

  • Your rights about goods, services and contracts
  • Fines, bills and debt
  • Centrelink disputes
  • Discrimination and harassment
  • Your rights at work
  • Eviction, repairs, rent or mortgage difficulties
  • Immigration issues
  • Elder abuse and older peoples’ rights
  • Help after natural disasters

What to do when your family relationship breaks down

  • Care and protection of children
  • Child support
  • Separation and divorce
  • Parenting orders and grandparents’ rights
  • Domestic and family violence
  • Family dispute resolution conferences
  • Separate representation for children

What to do if you are in trouble with the law

  • Getting help at court
  • If you’re under 18 and in trouble with the police
  • Applying for bail
  • Hearings in the Local Court to decide if there is enough evidence for your case to go to trial (committals)
  • Defended hearings where there is a possibility of gaol
  • Court sentences and appealing decisions

For more information about our services, visit our website

What kind of help can we give you?

Legal information and advice

We offer free legal information and can provide advice about certain legal problems. Call LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529 to talk about your legal issue.

Ongoing help

If you need ongoing legal help from a lawyer, you can apply for a ‘grant of legal aid’. A grant of legal aid means that a lawyer who works for Legal Aid NSW, or a private lawyer who is paid by us, will represent you in your case. A private lawyer can charge you for any work they do that is not covered by a grant of legal aid.

It is best to speak to a lawyer and get legal advice before you apply for legal aid. A lawyer can help you work out the nature of your legal problem and if you may be eligible for a grant of aid.

A lawyer may be able to help you apply for legal aid.

A lawyer may be able to help you with your legal problem without needing to go to court.

When deciding whether to give you a grant of legal aid, we look at:

  • what you want legal help for
  • what you earn and what you own (this is called the means test), and
  • other factors that show whether it is reasonable to grant legal aid, including how strong your case is (this is called the merit test).

A grant of legal aid is not free. Most people will have to pay a contribution to the legal costs of their case

We have specialist legal services

Children’s Legal Service and Youth Hotline

We advise and represent children involved in criminal cases. Call (02) 8688 3800.

If you are under 18 and need urgent advice, call the Youth Hotline on 1800 101 810.

The hotline is open Mon – Thurs 9am – midnight, Fri – Sun and public holidays, 24 hours.

Child Support Service

We provide free advice and assistance to parents who have to pay financial support for children after separation, as well as to parents and carers who are or should be receiving financial support for children. Call (02) 9633 9916 or 1800 451 784 (outside Sydney metropolitan area).

Civil Law Service for Aboriginal Communities

We can help with money worries, discrimination, problems with the police, housing and Centrelink problems. To find out more about the service and which communities we visit, call 02) 9219 5057 or freecall 1800 793 017.

Disaster Response Legal Service

We can help people affected by bushfires, storms or floods, with their everyday legal problems. Call 1800 801 529.

Domestic Violence Unit

We are a specialist domestic and family violence service made up of lawyers and social workers. Call (02) 9219 6300.

Mental Health Advocacy Service

We provide free legal advice about mental health and guardianship law. Call 1300 888 529.

Prisoners Legal Service

Prisoners can contact us on the common auto dial list (CADL) as a free call — just press 11# (Legal Aid NSW) and ask for Prisoners Legal Service. Friends and family can call (02) 9219 5000 and ask for the Prisoners Legal Service.

Refugee Service

We can help newly arrived refugees and communities with their legal problems. Call (02) 8713 6725.

Veterans’ Advocacy Service

We assist war veterans, defence force members and their dependents to obtain entitlements. Call (02) 9219 5148.

Work and Development Order Service

We help people who can’t pay their fines. We can assist people to clear their fines with approved activities instead of money. Call 1300 888 529. You can get more information about all our specialist services on our website.

We have duty lawyers at court

If you have to go to a Local Court about a criminal matter, you can speak to a duty lawyer. They are available at most Local Courts in NSW.

If this is your first time in court and you want to see a duty lawyer, then you should be at court by 9am. The duty lawyer may not be able to help you finalise your case on the first day. You may need to adjourn your case, which means it will be postponed to another day.

We offer free workshops and webinars

We run free workshops and information sessions for the public, for schools and community groups. We also run webinars on legal issues for community workers and the public. Dates, times and registration information.

We have free publications and resources

We have free publications, podcasts, videos, interactive guided pathways and other resources to help you with your legal problem.

Publications and other resources

Videos

Podcasts

Guided pathways

Sign up to our newsletters

There are some things we don’t do

There are some things that Legal Aid NSW does not do. For example, we don’t advise or represent people at court for personal injury, taxation or business matters.

We also don’t attend police stations or give you telephone advice if you are arrested. However, if you are under 18 you can call our Youth Hotline: 1800 101 810.

Where can you get more information?

The best place to start is to call the free telephone helpline—LawAccess NSW—who can help you straight away. They will give you free information and, in some cases, legal advice about your legal problem. Or they may refer you to another service.

You can call LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529.

You can also visit their website

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services

If you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander you can get free help from all Legal Aid NSW offices or from the Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS). Call the ALS on 1800 765 767.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children can also get help from Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre on 1800 686 587 or the First Nations Women’s Legal Contact Line on 1800 639 784.

Interpreter Services

If you need someone who speaks your language to help make an appointment with us, call the Translating and Interpreter Service (TIS) on 131 450. If you need an interpreter in your language on the day of your advice session, let us know when you make an appointment. We will arrange an interpreter for free. If you are going to court and need an interpreter, ask your legal aid lawyer to arrange one.

Community Legal Centres (CLCs)

CLCs give free legal advice and help with all kinds of legal problems. Call 1300 888 529 or search for a centre in your area.

Private Lawyers

The Law Society of NSW can refer you to private lawyers in your area. It can also tell you about private lawyers who do legal aid work. Call the Law Society’s Solicitor Referral Service  on (02) 9926 0300.

Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Services

WDVCASs assist women and children experiencing domestic violence get legal protection from the court. Call 1300 888 529 or check our website for your closest service.

Community Justice Centres

Community Justice Centres offer a free mediation service for people in dispute with friends, family members or neighbours. To find a centre near you, call 1800 990 777 or visit www.cjc.justice.nsw.gov.au

Public libraries

Legal information is available on the Find Legal Answers website and in local public libraries across NSW.

Best for Kids website

The Best for Kids website has legal information and resources for young people and families on a wide range of legal issues.

Where can you find us?

We have offices across NSW. We also visit locations in metropolitan and regional NSW where you can discuss your legal problem.

You can find your nearest Legal Aid NSW office on the next page or on our website.

June 2021