Below you will find a list of organisations and services that provide legal help in the ACT,
in the most appropriate order to contact them.
Pro bono legal assistance is a ‘last resort’, as it is provided by private law firms and individual lawyers on their own time, without government funding. Before you apply for pro bono assistance you will first need to see if other legal help is available. This is usually the first question that a pro bono referral organisation will ask.
First, contact Legal Aid ACT
Legal Aid has the most resources and is the best place to start
Legal Aid ACT is the main source of government-funded legal help in the ACT. It can provide legal advice, assistance and/or representation itself, or provide a ‘grant of legal aid’ to allow you to receive assistance from a private law firm.
More information on Legal Aid in general can be found on our Legal Aid page.
If you are an Indigenous Australian, you can instead contact your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (ATSILS) or Family Violence Prevention Legal Service (FVPLS). More details, including contact information, can be found here.
Next, contact a Community Legal Centre
If Legal Aid can’t help, try a local or specialist Community Legal Centre
Community Legal Centres can be found throughout the ACT and can also provide legal advice and assistance, and sometimes representation. They are not part of Legal Aid ACT.
If they can’t help, contact the ACT Pro Bono Clearing House
The ACT Pro Bono Clearing House can refer matters for pro bono legal assistance
The term “pro bono” refers to private law firms, solicitors and barristers providing legal assistance for free, or for a substantially reduced fee.
Most private law firms that provide pro bono legal assistance do so through the ACT Pro Bono Clearing House, including many of the largest in the ACT.
For more information on the ACT Pro Bono Clearing House, including their application process and the kind of matters they can and can’t take, check the ACT Pro Bono Clearing House website, or contact them on (02) 6274 0300.
There are a number of law firms that will take on legal matters on a “no win, no fee” basis, also known as a “contingency” basis.
This means that, if the firm thinks you are likely to succeed in Court and receive compensation, they will not charge you any money up front. Instead, they will take their legal fees out of the amount of compensation you receive if you succeed.
This type of arrangement is only available in some types of matters, often related to the workplace. To see if there is a law firm that may look at taking on your matter on this basis, check the ACT Law Society ‘Find a Lawyer’ service webpage, or contact them on (02) 6274 0300.
Court-Based Referral Schemes and Duty Lawyers
If your matter is being heard in a Court, you may be able to access a Court-based Referral Scheme or Duty Lawyer. To find out if this is available, contact the general information number or Registrar for your Court – for contact details, check any correspondence you may have received, or search for their website online.