Legal assistance service providers
The Department of Justice does not provide legal advice or services.
The Government funds a number of organisations throughout the state to provide free or low-cost legal help to Western Australians who cannot afford a private lawyer.
Legal help can include advice, representation, document drafting and mediation, with many also offering a duty lawyer service in the state’s courts.
If you need legal help, contact your nearest legal assistance service provider using the links below, to learn more about their services.
- Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia provides culturally appropriate legal and related services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Community Legal Centres offer a range of legal and related services to their local communities, including dedicated centres that specialise in particular areas or law or among various cultural groups.
- Family Violence Prevention Legal Services provide culturally appropriate legal and related services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have experienced, or are at risk of, family violence or sexual assault.
- Legal Aid WA provides information, advice and representation, and has a free Infoline and Infochat service available during office hours.
If you are not eligible to receive no cost or low cost legal services from the above legal assistance service providers, Law Access may be able to link you with a private lawyer who will help you without charging their usual fees (pro bono). Law Access also has eligibility criteria you must meet before they try to find a lawyer to help you.
Legal Assistance Strategy and Action Plan 2022-2025Show more
A high-performing and well-functioning legal assistance sector is invaluable not only because of the positive impact it can have for an individual, but also because of the broader, public benefits to the community.
The development of this Legal Assistance Strategy has been informed by consultation with the legal assistance sector. It is intended to be a practical, flexible and proactive roadmap to support legal assistance service providers in collectively delivering legal assistance in a way which responds to the needs of Western Australia’s diverse and geographically vast community. More broadly, this Strategy seeks to ensure that people experiencing vulnerability and disadvantage in Western Australia are best able to access appropriate and timely legal assistance irrespective of where they are located in the state.
Whilst the development of this Strategy is a requirement pursuant to the National Legal Assistance Partnership 2020-2025 (NLAP), this Strategy also seeks go beyond the minimum requirements of the NLAP and in doing so build on the guidance that the NLAP objective and outcomes provide to the legal assistance sector.
The forthcoming Legal Assistance Action Plan will set out how the Strategy will be implemented and how outcomes will be measured, including the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the Strategy as a whole to ensure continuous and demonstrable improvement, progress and change. The Legal Assistance Action Plan will be published on or before 30 September 2022.
It is acknowledged that there are a number of socio-economic and systemic barriers to individuals which cannot be overcome simply by the provision of legal assistance. This Strategy also seeks to work in conjunction with other State Government initiatives towards improving access to justice and achieving a fair, just and safe community for all Western Australians.
Understanding legal needShow more
Measuring legal need is challenging, as many people do not seek help for their legal problems, either because they are unaware their issue has a legal remedy, or they believe they do not have the means or capacity to access legal services.
The evidence shows the unmet legal need is more concentrated amongst the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups including the disabled, unemployed, single parents, Aboriginal people, and those living in rural, regional and remote areas.
There are a number of legal need mapping reports for Western Australia which examine an evidence base for legal need in Western Australia and look at the location of where legal assistance services are being provided across the state.
Working together for a sustainable sectorShow more
The Department of Justice, via the Legal Assistance Branch, chairs the Collaborative Services Planning Group (CSPG) as a requirement of the National Legal Assistance Partnership 2020-2025.
The CSPG brings together representatives from Government and leaders of the legal assistance sector to work together to maximise their reach so that services are targeted to areas of greatest need, within available resources.
In 2021-2022, the CSPG will develop a Legal Assistance Strategy and Legal Assistance Action Plan. Together, these key documents aim to ensure that the legal assistance sector has sufficient capacity and resources to deliver appropriate and timely legal assistance services to priority client groups residing in the metropolitan area as well as the State’s vastly dispersed regional, rural and remote communities.
The National Legal Assistance PartnershipShow more
The National Legal Assistance Partnership 2020-2025 (NLAP) is an agreement between the Commonwealth, States and Territories, which sets out the arrangements for the delivery of Commonwealth funded legal assistance services, and otherwise provides for an integrated, efficient, effective and appropriate model of service delivery that is focussed on improving access to justice.
The NLAP is supported by the National Strategic Framework for Legal Assistance 2020-2025, which is the agreed policy framework for government legal assistance funding, guiding service delivery and sector planning.
The National Legal Assistance Data Strategy and National Legal Assistance Data Standards Manual provide guidance to legal assistance service providers to facilitate the collection of consistent and comparable data as the foundation for a strong, reliable evidence base that informs legal assistance policy and supports planning and resource allocation.
Funding the legal assistance sectorShow more
The State and Commonwealth Governments are committed to ensuring vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians, who cannot afford the services of a private lawyer, can access justice, wherever they live.
In Western Australia, the Department of Justice will distribute more than $100 million to this State’s legal assistance sector in 2021-2022. This includes $49.4 million from the Commonwealth under the National Legal Assistance Partnership 2020-2025, with approximately $13.4 million for Aboriginal Legal Service, $27.3 million for Legal Aid WA and $7.2 million for Community Legal Centres.
Together, these funds allow the sector to deliver a range of essential frontline services, including but not limited to, information, advice, representation, mediation, document drafting, domestic violence supports and community legal education.
Community Legal Centres receive funding from the State and Commonwealth Government to deliver front-line services to vulnerable people facing disadvantage to engage effectively in the justice system. A table showing allocations to be distributed by the Department of Justice to Community Legal Centres during 2021-2022 is shown below.
Community Legal Centre Funding Table 2021-2022
|Community Legal Centre||Amount|
|Albany Community Legal Centre||$458,244.00|
|Circle Green Community Legal||$696,751.94|
|Citizens Advice Bureau||$194,545.49|
|Community Legal Western Australia||$473,494.00|
|Consumer Credit Legal Service||$904,683.00|
|Environmental Defenders Office Western Australia||$179,368.90|
|Fremantle Community Legal Centre||$401,284.46|
|Goldfields Community Legal Centre||$501,040.00|
|Gosnells Community Legal Centre||$826,033.00|
|Kimberley Community Legal Services||$716,075.00|
|Mental Health Law Centre||$1,017,892.99|
|Midland Information Debt and Legal Advocacy Service||$416,828.00|
|Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre||$1,011,687.00|
|Peel Community Legal Centre||$773,037.00|
|Pilbara Community Legal Services||$523,248.00|
|Regional Alliance West||$610,074.00|
|Relationships Australia Western Australia (Djinda Service)||$859,011.22|
|South West Community Legal Centre||$575,561.00|
|Southern Communities Advocacy Legal Education Service||$555,684.00|
|Street Law Centre||$374,437.00|
|Sussex Street Community Law Service||$610,864.00|
|Welfare Rights and Advocacy Service||$497,164.00|
|Wheatbelt Community Legal Centre||$601,789.00|
|Women’s Legal Service||$651,409.00|
|Youth Legal Service||$533,794.00|
Additional legal assistance fundingShow more
The Commonwealth and State Governments also provide funding to the legal assistance sector to support specific or project-based services to enhance outcomes for vulnerable and disadvantaged West Australians. This includes funding for Domestic Violence Units, Health Justice Partnerships and Family Violence Restraining Order Conferencing.
From time to time, unforeseen circumstances and events will increase demand for legal services, and additional funds are made available to assist the sector respond to changing need.
In 2020-2021, the State and Commonwealth Government allocated over $8.3 million to the legal assistance sector to respond to the increased demand for legal assistance services during the COVID-19 pandemic and Tropical Cyclone Seroja in the state’s mid-west.