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Need any legal help? - Ask Legal Aid NSW

How Legal Aid can help you

We have services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

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
  • 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

  • Care and protection of children
  • 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 jail
  • Court sentences and appealing decisions

For more information about our services, visit our website www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au

What kind of help can we give you?

We offer free legal advice

We offer free appointments of about 20 minutes to talk to a lawyer about your legal problem. If you need more help than this, then we may arrange for a lawyer to help with your case if you are eligible for a grant of legal aid.

We give 'grants of legal aid'

If you need ongoing legal help from a lawyer, you must 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.

To apply for a grant of legal aid, you must fill out an application form. You can get the application form from:

  • Legal Aid NSW offices
  • our website, or
  • duty lawyers at local courts

Our staff can help you fill out the form and tell you if you are eligible for a grant of legal aid. It is best to talk to one of our lawyers before you apply for legal aid. You may be able to get help with your legal problem without needing to go to court.

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

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 1800 793 017 or 02 9219 5057

Children’s Legal Service and Youth Hotline

We advise and represent children involved in criminal cases in the Children’s Courts and have duty lawyers at other courts. Call 02 8688 3800. If you are under 18 and need urgent advice, call the Youth Hotline on 1800 10 18 10. Mon-Thurs 9am-midnight, Fri-Sun and public holidays, 24 hours.

Child Support Service

Gives you free independent advice and we are confidential. Call 02 9633 9916 or 1800 451 784 (outside Sydney metropolitan area).

Mental Health Advocacy Service

People with mental health problems and their families can call 02 9745 4277.

Prisoners Legal Service

Friends and family of prisoners can call 02 8688 3888 and ask for the Prisoners Legal Service.

Veterans’ Advocacy Service

To find out about veterans’ rights and entitlements, call 02 9219 5148 or email: veterans@legalaid.nsw.gov.au

We have duty lawyers at court

There are duty lawyers at the Local Court, District Court, Supreme Court or the Court of Criminal Appeal who can help you.

Taken into police custody?

If you have been taken into police custody you are legally entitled to speak immediately to a lawyer from the Aboriginal Legal Service. This is called Custody Notification Service (CNS). It is a 24-hour legal advice and RU OK phone line for Aboriginal people taken into police custody.

All police stations have been supplied with the number, which can be called 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 02 9318 2122 during working hours for more information about this service.

We have free publications and resources to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with their legal problem.

View or order our resources at: www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/publications

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 on 1800 10 18 10.

Where can you get more information?

LawAccess NSW

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 at www.lawaccess.nsw.gov.au

Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT)

The Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT (ALS) gives free legal advice and provides legal representation in criminal and children’s care and protection matters. Call the ALS on 1800 765 767 or visit them on their website at www.alsnswact.org.au

Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre

Wirringa Baiya is a community legal centre for Aboriginal women, children and young people living in NSW. They provide free legal advice and representation relating to family violence. Call: 1800 686 587

First Nations Women’s Legal Contact Line

This toll-free line is staffed by Aboriginal women and is open Mon, Tues and Thurs. Call: 1800 639 784.

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 at: www.clcnsw.org.au.

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

WDVCAS's assist women and children experiencing domestic violence get legal protection from the court. Call 1300 WDVCAS (1300 938 227) or check our website for your closest service.

Community Justice Centres

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 please remove

Legal information is available on the Find Legal Answers website at www.legalanswers.sl.nsw.gov.au and in local public libraries across New South Wales.

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: www.bestforkids.org.au

Where can you find us?

We have offices across New South Wales. We also visit over 200 other locations in metropolitan and regional NSW where you can drop in or make an appointment to discuss your legal problem.

You can find your nearest Legal Aid NSW office on our website at www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au

We also have Aboriginal Field Officers to help you with money worries and family law. If you need to speak to an Aboriginal Field Officer, contact our Central Sydney Office on 02 9219 5000 or the Aboriginal Legal Service on 1800 765 767.

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.

© Legal Aid Commission of NSW 2020