Legal Aid Queensland helps people who have a legal problem but can’t afford to pay a lawyer. We are an independent, government-funded legal service committed to helping the most disadvantaged members of our community.
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How can Legal Aid Queensland help me?
You can get free legal information to help you work out your legal problem by calling our Client Information Service Centre. Our experienced client information officers will listen to your problem and explain the legal issues involved. They will also tell you about our services and how to access them.
If your problem is more serious, you can arrange to discuss it with a lawyer at a free legal advice session. You can get legal advice over the phone or face-to-face by visiting one of our offices around Queensland.
All Queenslanders can use our free legal information and advice services to get help with personal legal matters. You do not have to meet a means test. Lawyers and social workers in our specialist units help people with specific legal problems.
Our specialist units include:
- Child support
- Consumer protection
- Mental health
- Legal aid prison service
- Violence prevention and women’s advocacy
- Farm and rural legal service
If you’re not sure whether we can help with your legal problem, just call us and ask. If we can’t help, we’ll refer you to someone who can.
What legal problems can you help me with?
We provide legal help for criminal, family and civil law problems. Some problems we can help with include:
- You’ve been accused of breaking the law or been charged with a crime.
- You’ve separated or divorced and need help working out where the children will live, how to divide your assets or child support issues.
- You’ve experienced violence in your relationships.
- You’ve been unfairly discriminated against because of your race, age, gender identity, sexuality or family responsibilities.
- You’ve been the victim of a consumer rip-off, been added to a credit blacklist, harrassed by debt collectors or you’re having trouble repaying loans.
- You or your child need help with a child protection matter.
We can’t help you with:
- commercial transactions or dealings with real estate
- personal injury
- will making/preparing powers of attorney
- taxation and superannuation
- planning and environmental law
- local government matters
- matters where you’re representing a company,
- business, club or association.
Can I get a lawyer to represent me in court?
Legal Aid Queensland may be able to provide a lawyer to represent you. This service is means and merit tested — we will look at what you earn, what you own and if your case has a good chance of success to decide if you are eligible for legal aid. We use the means and merit test to make sure we spend our limited funding on the most needy cases.
If you rely solely on Centrelink payments for your income, you will usually pass the income section of our means test. You will however, still need to be assessed under the assets section of the means test. Young people aged 17 years and under don’t have to meet the means test to be eligible for aid, but may have to meet other guidelines.
How do I apply for legal aid?
You need to complete an application form, which you can get from our offices throughout Queensland or from our website at www.legalaid.qld.gov.au. Your application for aid is more likely to succeed if you get legal advice before you apply.
Our Grants team will assess your application to see if it meets our guildelines. If you are eligible for aid, we will send you a letter and let you know what to expect. If not, we will let you know how to appeal the decision.
Who will represent me?
If your application is approved, you will be represented by a lawyer from our legal practice or from a private law firm which takes on legal aid cases. All of our lawyers are qualified and many are experts in their fields.
Our staff receive ongoing training to keep them up to date with advances in the law. Lawyers from our legal practice and external law firms are also regularly audited to ensure they are providing the highest standard of service to our clients.
Will I have to pay any legal costs?
If your application for legal aid is approved, you may have to make a payment towards your legal costs. Whether you have to pay depends on your legal problem and your financial situation. We will write to you to let you know if you have to contribute to your legal costs.
If you have any questions about whether you will have to make a payment, please contact us.
By asking clients to make a contribution to their legal costs, we can provide legal services to more people.
Is your help confidential?
Yes. Our services are confidential and we are committed to protecting our clients’ privacy. We will not provide your personal information or details about your legal problem to anyone, unless we are legally required to.
Can you organise an interpreter?
Yes — we can organise for an accredited interpreter to help you. We are committed to making our services accessible to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and people with disabilities.
If you would like this factsheet explained in your language, please phone the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 1450 to speak to an interpreter. Ask them to connect you to Legal Aid Queensland. If you have a hearing impairment please call the TTY service on (07) 3238 3023. These are free services.
How do I provide feedback or make a complaint?
Your feedback — complaints, compliments and suggestions — is welcome and we take it seriously.
To make a comment about the service you received from Legal Aid Queensland, you can complete our client feedback form. The form is available from your local Legal Aid office and our website.
You can also give us feedback by writing to us at GPO Box 2449, Brisbane, Qld, 4001, or calling 1300 65 11 88.