Below you will find a list of organisations and services that provide legal help in NSW,
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 LawAccess
LawAccess and Legal Aid work together and have the most resources, so they are the best place to start
LawAccess NSW is a free government service that provides legal information, referrals and advice by telephone and on their website. You can find legal information on the LawAccess website, and you can contact them on 1300 888 529 to obtain legal advice or to be referred to Legal Aid NSW.
Legal Aid NSW is the main source of government-funded legal help in NSW, with branches across the state. 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 NSW and can also provide legal advice and assistance, and sometimes representation. They are not part of Legal Aid NSW.
To find your local Community Legal Centre, or to see if there is a Specialist Community Legal Centre devoted to your type of legal matter, check the Community Legal Centres NSW website, or contact them on (02) 9212 7333.
If they can’t help, contact a pro bono referral scheme or organisation
Pro bono referral schemes and organisations 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 Justice Connect or the Law Society of NSW Pro Bono Scheme, including many of the largest in NSW.
For more information on Justice Connect and how they can help you, including their application process and the kind of matters they can and can’t take, check the Justice Connect website, or contact them on (02) 8599 2100.
For more information on the Law Society of NSW Pro Bono Scheme, including their application process and the kind of matters they can and can’t take, check the Law Society of NSW Pro Bono Scheme website, or contact them on (02) 9926 0364.
The Homeless Persons’ Legal Service provides free legal assistance for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. For more information, check the Homeless Persons’ Legal Services website or contact them on (02) 8898 6511 or (02) 8898 6540.
Lastly, Salvos Legal has free legal advice bureaus that may be able to provide legal advice, assistance or representation. For more information, check the Salvos Legal Humanitarian website or contact them on (02) 8202 1500.
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 Law Society of NSW Solicitor Referral Service webpage, or contact them on (02) 9926 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.