Legal assistance can help you to get a better understanding of your dispute.
There are services in each state and territory that can refer you to appropriate lawyers or law firms. Some states and territories also have free or subsidised initial advice services.
Find out where to go for legal assistance in your state or territory:
Australian Capital Territory
ACT Law Society
The ACT Law Society provides a range of information and assistance to help people to understand their legal issues and, where appropriate, to find a lawyer.
Legal Advice Bureau - The Legal Advice Bureau within the ACT Law Society provides free initial advice to any member of the public to help determine if legal assistance is needed and what the next steps should be. The Bureau is manned by members of the ACT Law Society and operates 12.30pm to 2pm on weekdays. To make an appointment for a free 15 minute consultation call the ACT Law Society on 6247 5700.
Find a Lawyer - On the ACT Law Society website there is a ‘Find a Lawyer’ function. This tool enables you to search for a lawyer by law firm, firm type, language spoken and suburb. Find a Lawyer is available at www.actlawsociety.asn.au/law-firms-directory.
Contact the ACT Law Society:
p: 02 6247 5700
Small Business Legal Advice Clinic
The University of Canberra, in conjunction with Legal Aid ACT, runs the Small Business Legal Advice Clinic. The Clinic provides affordable advice on legal areas concerning small businesses, including contracts, debt recovery, dispute resolution, employment law, business law, insurance, intellectual property and more.
Consultation sessions are 30 minutes, free of charge and available between 2.00pm and 5.00pm on a Thursday. To make an appointment you can contact Legal Aid ACT and let them know you would like an appointment at the Clinic.
Contact Legal Aid ACT:
p: 02 6243 3471
New South Wales
LawAccess NSW is a free NSW Government telephone and web service that provides legal information, referrals and in some cases, advice for people who have a legal problem in NSW.
A number of services are available which provide free or low cost legal advice and representation, including Legal Aid NSW, Community Legal Centres and Law Society of NSW Pro Bono Scheme. These services have different policies about who they can help and in what situations. For some kinds of legal problems and for people with higher incomes, paying a private solicitor may be the only option. Contact LawAccess NSW to find the most appropriate place for you to seek legal advice.
Contact LawAccess NSW:
p: 1300 888 529
Law Society of NSW
A core role of the Law Society of NSW is to ensure the public has appropriate access to justice and can easily be connected to members of the legal profession when they need legal advice.
Choosing the right solicitor or firm is the first step. But when you’re in need of legal help it can be difficult to know what to do and who to turn to. The ‘Finding a Solicitor’ page on the Law Society of NSW website, www.lawsociety.com.au/community/findingalawyer/index.htm, helps to connect people with lawyers and law firms.
Legal Aid Northern Territory
The Legal Aid Helpline is available to everyone regardless of financial circumstance. It provides initial assistance and information from qualified operators on understanding your situation, next steps and where to go for further assistance. Contact the Legal Aid Helpline on 1800 019 343.
Law Society Northern Territory
The Law Society Northern Territory cannot provide legal advice, however it does provide a telephone service to link people with the most appropriate legal firm for their issue.
The Law Society also coordinates the First Interview Scheme which provides people with a discounted initial 30 minute consultation with a solicitor for $99 (as at March 2014). Contact the law society on 8981 5104 for a list of participating legal firms.
Queensland Law Society
The Queensland Law Society assists people by linking them with appropriate legal help for their issue. The ‘Find a Solicitor’ page on the Queensland Law Society website, www.qls.com.au/For_the_community/Find_a_solicitor, provides help to find a solicitor, law firm or alternative dispute resolution provider.
Legal Services Commission of South Australia
The Legal Services Commission runs Legal Helpline, a telephone service to provide preliminary information and referrals. Advice is usually limited to basic legal rights and obligations about a particular situation.
The Commission also provides free legal advice to any persons on most legal matters. The role of the legal advisers is to identify the problem, inform the client of their rights and obligations and help them to understand what courses of action can be taken. Appointments can be made by contacting the Commission.
Contact the Legal Services Commission of South Australia:
p: 1300 366 424
Law Society of South Australia
The Law Society of South Australia runs an Online Referral Service to assist people to find the most appropriate legal advice for their issue. The Service provides referral to law firms based on the specific areas of law, location and language. This service is available at www.lawsocietysa.asn.au/referral/LSSA_SearchCriteria.asp.
Legal Aid Commission
The Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania runs a telephone advice service. This service provides free initial legal advice and is available to everyone. It operates Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm on 1300 366 611.
Law Society of Tasmania
The Law Society of Tasmania website has a 'search for a firm' function to help people to find an appropriate law firm to assist with their issue. This function enables you to search by name, location and/or area of practice.
Law Institute Victoria
The Law Institute Victoria provides information and assistance to the public to help them with legal matters including the Legal Referral Service.
The Legal Referral Service is an online and telephone service which enables people to find a law firm appropriate for their issue. All law firms included in the Legal Referral Service provide a thirty minute enquiry interview free of charge to assist in determining the nature of the legal issue, available options and estimated costs to proceed.
Law Society of Western Australia
The Law Society of Western Australia manages a database of member lawyers and law firms and can provide a referral based on your needs.
If you require further assistance, the Australian Small Business Commissioner Information Line can provide information and assistance, including helping you to identify the most appropriate service to resolve your dispute. You can contact the Information Line on 1300 650 460.