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Legal aid commissions and community legal centres

Legal aid commissions

The Australian Government is committed to providing legal assistance to the most vulnerable members of the community to help them resolve their legal problems. The National Partnership Agreement on Legal Assistance Services provides Australian Government funding to legal aid commissions and community legal centres to deliver this assistance.

Legal aid commissions provide a range of services, including information, legal advice and representation in courts and tribunals. Information and services including telephone advice are often free of charge. However, to be eligible for representation through a grant of aid, applicants must satisfy means and merits tests set by legal aid commissions.

There is a legal aid commission in each state and territory:

Community legal centres

Community legal centres are independent, community managed, non-profit services that provide a range of assistance on legal and related matters to those disadvantaged and with special needs.

Community legal centres are a key component of Australia's legal assistance system. They complement and extend the services provided by legal aid commissions and the private profession.

To find a community legal centre near you, visit the National Association of Community Legal Centres website.

Expensive Commonwealth Criminal Cases Fund

The Australian Government, through the Attorney-General’s Department, may reimburse costs incurred by state and territory legal aid commissions for expensive Commonwealth criminal cases.

Expensive Commonwealth Criminal Cases Fund guidelines, effective at 6 May 2016, are available here: