Legal help links
In addition to the Law Society's own services to assist you to find a solicitor, the following legal help links can help you find government agencies, community and other non-profit organisations that provide legal advice and information, referrals, and other services to assist you in dealing with problems of a legal nature.
Alternative dispute resolution
Alternative dispute resolution refers to the settlement of disagreements outside of the Court system. Community Justice Centres, operated by the NSW Attorney General’s Department, provide free mediation and conflict management services to help people resolve disputes.
The Child Support Agency ensures that children get a proper level of financial support from their parents when the parents are separated.
The National Child Protection Clearinghouse provides relevant information and a network of people committed to creating better opportunities for children through child abuse prevention.
Community legal centres
Community legal centres (CLC) are independent, community based, non-profit organisations which provide legal help and advocacy for a range of individuals and groups in the community, especially those who are on low incomes or otherwise disadvantaged in their access to justice. A directory of Australian community legal centres is available on the Australasian Institute of Legal Information (AustLII) website.
The Combined Community Legal Centres NSW provides a comprehensive directory of CLCs in NSW.
Complaints against solicitors
The Office of the Legal Services Commissioner receives all complaints against legal practitioners in New South Wales. The Office oversees the investigation of complaints about the conduct of legal practitioners and works to resolve consumer disputes between legal practitioners and their clients.
The Australian Consumers' Association (CHOICE) is an association concerned with consumer rights. The CHOICE web site is a rich resource of tips, tricks and the law on consumer rights, advocacy and protection, everything from template letters of complaint to advice on how to complain successfully.
The NSW Government’s Office of Fair Trading provides information and assistance in:
- consumer issues
- motor vehicles
- home building and renovation
- credit, property and tenancy issues
- cooperatives and business name registration.
The Office can also provide free language assistance to people from non-English speaking backgrounds.
The New South Wales Legal Representation Office can provide free legal help to people who are involved in proceedings before the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) and the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
The Family Court of Australia web site is an excellent ‘one-stop’ resource and reference for matters concerning family law in Australia. As well as a useful ‘Do It Yourself Kits’, the site also features a range of publications.
The Law Council of Australia’s Family Law website is maintained by lawyers who practice in family law and belong to the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia. This web site is a useful resource on numerous family law topics including:
- property disputes
- child support
- parenting orders
- separation and divorce.
Immigration Advice and Rights Centre (IARC) is a non-profit, community legal centre specialising in Australian immigration law and policy. IARC is a not-for-profit organisation providing free immigration advice to financially disadvantaged people in New South Wales.
The Aboriginal Law Service (NSW/ACT) provides legal help and representation for indigenous Australians in criminal and child protection matters.
LawAccess NSW, operated by the NSW Attorney General's Department, is a free government telephone service that provides legal information, advice and referrals for people who have a legal problem in NSW. Their website contains information about your rights, going to court, a legal problem search engine and resources for people with disabilities, among other things.
The National Association of Community Legal Centres is a non-profit community-based organisation offering free legal advice on a range of matters.
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre provides advice and representation to individuals and groups whose cases meet certain criteria, as well as fact sheets on many areas of law.
Legal Aid NSW provides legal help and other services to socially and economically disadvantaged people. Offices are located throughout NSW and the Legal Aid HelpLine is available on freecall 1800 806 913. To access most Legal Aid NSW services members of the public must meet the requirements of means and merit tests. See the How to apply section.
Legal Information Access Centre (LIAC) is a joint project of the State Library of NSW and the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW. LIAC provides access to legal information for the general public through the public library network in NSW.
- Hot Topics - a collection of booklets which document recent changes and current debates in the law. Each topic provides a comprehensive plain language summary of the law, vetted by legal professionals.
- find LEGAL answers – an online directory of legal information on a wide variety of topics.
- Law For You explains numerous legal topics in ‘plain English’ and offers a range of options to help manage your legal problems.
Legislation and case law databases
The Australasian Institute of Legal Information (AustLII) publishes free legal information online, such as:
- decisions of courts and tribunals
- law reform and royal commission reports
ComLaw is administered by the Australian Attorney General's Department. It provides free public access to extensive legal resources, particularly Commonwealth material such as:
- bills, acts and regulations
- court and tribunal decisions.
The Society of Notaries of New South Wales can help locate notaries for help with documents needed for use overseas.
The Department of Ageing, Disability and Homecare provides information and forms about powers of attorney, enduring guardianship and advanced health-care directives.
Women’s Legal Services NSW provides free legal advice and information for all women in the community, particularly for those who are socially and economically disadvantaged
Women's Domestic Violence Court Assistance Program is run by Legal Aid NSW. This program encourages and assists women who are victims of domestic violence to use the justice system to protect themselves from further violence, including assistance with Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders (ADVO).
The Legal Aid HotLine for under 18s is run by Legal Aid NSW to provide young people who have committed, or are suspected of committing, a crime with legal advice from experienced criminal lawyers with expertise in juvenile justice and the Young Offenders Act. Under the Young Offenders Act, young people have the right to this advice before they make an admission or a statement to the police.
Lawstuff provides legal information for young people under the age of 18. It has a 'When can I ...?' section, e.g. ‘When can I rent a flat or house?'. There is also a ‘Getting Help’ section, and an email legal help facility which allows you to send questions about the law or your legal rights directly to one of the solicitors at the Centre.
- The Law Society of New South Wales
- 170 Phillip Street
- Sydney NSW 2000
- DX 362 Sydney
- T: (02) 9926 0333
- E: email@example.com