Many people suffer more than they need to as the result of legal problems that could have been avoided if a lawyer had been consulted at the first sign of trouble.
In the case of relationship breakdown where property or children are involved, legal advice should be sought at an early stage to ensure that rights are protected. A person who is injured at work, in a car accident or even walking along the street should seek legal advice immediately after the injury becomes apparent, as prompt action is required for workers compensation and personal injury claims. Advice about the terms of a lease or contract after it has been signed will probably be too late to be useful.
It is important to see a lawyer or apply for legal aid as soon as possible after being charged with a criminal offence.
The Legal Service’s Commission has a free legal advice line for help for all South Australians – phone 1300 366 424.
Legal aid services can be broadly divided into legal advice and legal representation. Most legal aid agencies also take an active role in community legal education and law reform.
Advice about legal rights and problems is given by a variety of agencies. For example, it is provided free of charge by agencies such as the Legal Services Commission, community legal centres, the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement and Consumer and Business Services. Sometimes there are restrictions on the areas of law covered or the geographical area. Further assistance, and referrals to other agencies, are given where appropriate.
Legal representation usually involves attendance in court, but it may also cover services such as the drafting of documents or legal negotiations. Often services are given subject to means tests and guidelines, which set the priorities for the use of an agency's funds.
Legal Services Commission
ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICES:
Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement Inc
Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention Legal Service Inc
COMMUNITY LEGAL SERVICES:
Community legal centres provide legal advice and assistance to disadvantaged clients and local residents. Their services can also include financial counselling, child support assistance, social security advocacy and mediation. They can sometimes help with legal problems that are outside legal aid guidelines.
For details of community legal centres in other states see the National Association of Community Legal Centres
Central Community Legal Service
Northern Community Legal Service
Southern Community Justice Centre
Westside Community Lawyers Inc
Westside Community Lawyers Inc (Port Pirie)
Riverland Community Legal Service
South East Community Legal Service
Women's Legal Service (SA)
OTHER SPECIALIST SERVICES:
Young Workers' Legal Service
Welfare Rights Centre
Environmental Defenders Office
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.