The Community Legal Centres Australia websitedescribes community legal centres (CLCs) as:
…independent, not for profit, community-based organisations that provide a range of services to everyday people, including people experiencing discrimination and disadvantage.
There are almost 200 CLCs across Australia that provide legal assistance to those who are not able to afford legal assistance but are unable to obtain assistance from Legal Aid. This may be because a person needs assistance for something that Legal Aid does not do, or because they do not qualify for Legal Aid assistance.
Please note that CLCs are not part of Legal Aid.
What do CLCs do?
CLCs have different specialities and resources. These services can include providing:
Legal advice (in person or over the phone)
Other legal assistance (for example, help to prepare letters or complete forms)
Publications on a range of legal topics
Information on other legal and non-legal services in your area
Legal education for organisations and communities.
Some CLCs have after-hours night clinics, some set up appointments for clients to meet with lawyers, some let you drop in at any time and some have phone advice lines. To find out which services your local CLC provides, you should contact them directly or visit their website.
What are the two types of CLCs?
CLCs can either be generalist or specialist legal service providers.
A generalist CLC provides legal services in a range of areas of law and will generally service a particular geographic area, such as a local government area.
A specialist CLC provides legal services in relation to a particular area of law or to a particular group of people with special needs (e.g., the Financial Rights Legal Centre and the Intellectual Disability Rights Service).
How can I find a CLC?
The best place to find information on the CLCs in your state is your state’s peak CLC body website (see below). For those in the ACT and NT, where the peak body does not maintain a website, you can find a list of all CLCs in Australia (with a postcode search function) on the Community Legal Centres Australia website.