Community legal services exist nationwide to provide legal advice, referral and ongoing assistance. Each year a significant number of people in South Australia benefit from these services. They are professional organisations which are independent of government and funded through a variety of sources including the Commonwealth and State governments, public donations and fund raising.
Community legal services provide a range of legal and non-legal services to their communities. Their 'community' may be a geographical area (such as the Northern Community Legal Service) or a special interest area such as the Welfare Rights Centre or Environmental Defenders Office. In general, they help people who are not eligible for legal aid but cannot afford a private lawyer. They assist by providing advice and referrals, negotiating on behalf of clients, preparing legal documents, and in some cases, representing clients in court. Some community legal services have child support workers, financial counsellors, and mediation services.
Each service employs a small number of staff and most utilise the voluntary services of a considerable number of lawyers, other professionals and tertiary students. They are run by volunteer management committees drawn from their community.
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.