Main Content Anchor

Family law duty lawyer

The family law duty lawyer is a free lawyer who may be able to help if you are going to court about a family law matter in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.

Getting help from the family law duty lawyer

You can only get help from the family law duty lawyer 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
  • 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.

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, need an interpreter, have difficulty reading or writing or have a disability.

Accessing the family law duty lawyer

You can speak to the family law duty lawyer:

  • in-person, on your specific court date*, or
  • over the phone, before your court date, if your court appearance is by phone or electronic means.

You can make a booking to speak to the family duty lawyer up to 5 days in advance for phone/electronic court appearances. Contact details are listed in the schedule below.

*Note: If you are attending court in-person, you can only get 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.

If you need legal help, you should arrive early on your court date and ask to see the family law duty lawyer.

The schedule below lists which courts and dates the family law duty lawyer is available.

Family law duty lawyer service schedule

Family law duty lawyers are available every day in Brisbane, and every Monday in Cairns.

They also visit other regions when the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia is sitting, including:

  • Bundaberg
  • Mackay
  • Maroochydore
  • Rockhampton
  • Toowoomba, and
  • Townsville.

Sitting dates may vary with the court calendar.

Upcoming dates

Location Dates Contact number
(For phone/electronic court appearances only)
Dates correct as at 28 April 2023
Brisbane Every day 1300 267 762
Cairns 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 May (07) 4252 6800
Mackay 4, 16 May (07) 4889 8600
Rockhampton 2, 15, 18 May (07) 4921 6500
Townsville 3, 15, 29, 31 May (07) 4758 5300

Family Advocacy and Support Services

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

The services involve lawyers, social support and mental health workers helping people impacted by family violence who have a current family law issue.

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)
  • help complete legal aid applications.

A support worker may be able to:

  • help people prepare a safety plan
  • connect them with other relevant services
  • help complete legal aid applications. 

A mental health worker may be able to:

  • provide support at court
  • help people to access support for their mental health needs
  • prepare a mental health safety plan.

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

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 for 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.

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

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

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

Related links and information

Last updated 28 April 2023

Back to top