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Family law duty lawyer

The family law duty lawyer may be able to help on your court date for family law matters in the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court.

The family law duty lawyer can give you free legal advice and can help you by:

  • giving you information and advice (on your court date)
  • helping you complete some court forms and documents
  • discussing your eligibility for legal aid.

Find out when the family law duty lawyer is available.

The family law duty lawyer can only help you on your specific court date. If you need help before or after your court date, contact Legal Aid Queensland, a community legal centre or get a private lawyer.

Getting help from the family law duty lawyer

The family law duty lawyer is a free lawyer who may be able to help you if you have a family law matter in the Family Law Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court.

You can only get help from the family law duty lawyer on your court date, if you are self-representing, and haven't received any legal advice before going to court.

The family law duty lawyer may not necessarily appear with you in court (unless you have a specific need), but they can still:

  • give you information and advice (on your court date)
  • help you with court forms and documents
  • discuss your eligibility for help from Legal Aid Queensland .

They can't:

  • represent people in family law trials
  • take on casework.

You don't have to book to see the family law duty lawyer, but you should check if they're available at the court you're attending and on your court date. If you need legal help, you should arrive early to the court (on your court date) and ask to see the family law duty lawyer.

Note:  The family law duty lawyer can only help on the day you're appearing in court.  For example, if your court date is on a Tuesday, you can't get help from the duty lawyer before Tuesday. They can't help if your matter isn't listed in the court on that specific day.

Make sure you bring all your court documents with you. Without them, the family law duty lawyer can only give you limited help.

Let the family law duty lawyer know if you need extra help— for example, if you've experienced domestic or family violence, or you need an interpreter, have difficulty reading or writing or have a disability.

Family law duty lawyer service schedule

Family law duty lawyers are available in Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville.

They also visit other Queensland towns when the Federal Circuit Court is sitting, where they are available on the first day on the circuit—usually a Monday at Southport, Maroochydore, Toowoomba, Ipswich, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Mackay and Rockhampton. Sitting dates may vary with the court calendar.

Family Court location

Days duty lawyer service is available

Brisbane

Monday to Friday

Cairns

Duty lawyer services provided every 3-4 weeks.

Upcoming dates:

  • 20, 21, 22 November
  • 11, 12 December

Townsville

Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday:

  • 13, 14 November
  • 27 November
  • 11,12 December

Family Advocacy and Support Services

Family Advocacy and Support Services operate Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm in Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns. You may be referred by Legal Aid Queensland to this service for help if appropriate.

The services, which began in March 2017, involve lawyers and social support workers helping people impacted by family violence who have a current family law issue.

The service can help unrepresented people on their court date (similar to the family law duty lawyer service) and people with very urgent family law issues (even without a matter in court).

As part of these services, a lawyer may be able to give people information and legal advice, help prepare simple court documents (in limited situations), represent them in court (in limited situations) and help complete legal aid applications. A support worker may be able to help people prepare a safety plan, connect them with other services that may be able to help them and help complete legal aid applications.

If you need help on the day you are going to court, then speak to the family law duty lawyer or intake officer at the court.

If you have a very urgent family law issue, and you are not in court, then speak to an information officer at your local Legal Aid Queensland office or call 1300 65 11 88. Legal Aid Queensland has a range of specialist services available, and will find the best service for you.

Get legal advice

While the family law duty lawyer may be able to help you specifically on your court date, Legal Aid Queensland may be able to give you further advice about family law matters. Contact us for help.

The following organisations may be able to give you legal advice.

Community legal centres give legal advice on a range of topics. Contact them to find out if they can help.  

Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private lawyer for advice or representation.

Who else can help

These organisations may also be able to help. They don’t give legal advice.

Family Relationship Advice Line gives information about the family law system in Australia.  

Family Relationship Centres give information, referrals, dispute resolution and advice on parenting after separation.

Family Court of Australia deals with family law cases. Court forms and information on family court processes are available online.  

Federal Circuit Court of Australia can decide some family law cases. Court forms and information on court processes are available online.

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