Legal assistance services
There are a range of services that can help people with a legal problem. These services are delivered by legal assistance providers. Each of these providers deliver different levels of legal information and advice.
The Attorney-General and the Attorney-General’s Department cannot provide people with legal advice or provide them with a lawyer.
Legal aid commissions
Legal aid commissions are independent statutory bodies. 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:
- Legal Aid New South Wales
- Victoria Legal Aid
- Legal Aid Queensland
- Legal Aid Western Australia
- Legal Services Commission of South Australia
- Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania
- Legal Aid Australian Capital Territory
- Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission
Find out more about legal aid commissions at the National Legal Aid website.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) are Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations. ATSILS deliver free and culturally appropriate legal assistance services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including advice, representation, information and referrals.
There is an ATSILS provider in each state and territory (with the same provider servicing NSW and the ACT):
- Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Limited
- Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (Qld) Ltd
- Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia Limited
- Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement (South Australia)
- Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service
- North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency
Find out more about ATSILS at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services website.
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 people experiencing disadvantage and/or 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.
Find out more about community legal centres at the Community Legal Centres Australia website.
Specialist domestic violence services
The Australian Government provides funding for legal assistance providers to deliver specialist family and domestic violence legal services. These services help people affected by family and domestic violence who may otherwise be unable to access the support they need.
Family Violence Prevention Legal Services
Family Violence Prevention Legal Services provide culturally sensitive assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors and victims of family violence and sexual assault, working collaboratively with other service providers to deliver appropriate, accessible, equitable, efficient and effective legal assistance and related services to victim-survivors of family violence. Find out more at the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services website.
Legal Aid Schemes and Services Approval 2021
The Legal Aid Schemes and Services Approval 2021 allows people who receive legal assistance from the providers listed within it to be exempt from court fees (e.g. document filing or service provision fees).
Commonwealth legal financial assistance
The Australian Government provides Commonwealth legal financial assistance for people who need help with a Commonwealth law matter or an overseas legal matter who do not qualify for assistance from legal aid.