Court cases and the law can be complicated. You should consider getting legal advice about your case before you commence legal proceedings or attend court.
Staff at the Court can give you certain information, such as what forms to fill in, but they cannot give you legal advice. Find out more about what court staff can and can’t do.
There are a number of organisations that can help you with legal assistance. The main legal organisations are described below.
You can also find out more about representing yourself or having someone represent you.
EDO NSW is a not-for-profit community legal centre specialising in public interest environmental law. EDO NSW helps individuals and community groups who are working to protect the natural and built environment. It can provide free initial legal advice to the community. The EDO has useful information on its website, including fact sheets on planning and environmental law.
Legal Aid NSW provides free legal advice and help in court. Find out more about:
The Law Society provides an online search to help you find a qualified lawyer suitable for your needs. See the Law Society of NSW Solicitor Referral Service. You will usually need to pay fees to the solicitor who advises or represents you in court.
The Bar Association of NSW provides an online search to help you find a qualified barrister suitable for your needs. You will usually need to pay fees to the barrister who advises or represents you in court.
Sometimes, lawyers will provide their services free for a worthy cause. This is called acting pro bono. Pro bono is a Latin term meaning 'for the public good' and when it comes to the legal profession, it describes work undertaken voluntarily by lawyers in the interests of society.
The Law Society of NSW may be able to make a pro bono referral to a solicitor if you have been turned down by Legal Aid and cannot afford legal fees. The Law Society of NSW Pro Bono Scheme refers eligible people to private solicitors who have agreed to provide legal services free or at reduced costs. The scheme covers only certain matters, including criminal cases, wills and estates and immigration law.
The Legal Assistance Referral Scheme (LARS) is run by the NSW Bar Association. LARS aims to provide legal assistance for free or at reduced rates to persons who would not otherwise be able to obtain legal assistance without suffering severe financial hardship. It refers people to barristers or mediators who may be able to give advice, appear for you or settle your matter.
There are numerous Community Legal Centres (CLCs) across the state which you can consult about different legal matters. These are independent community organisations that provide free legal advice and related services to people and communities facing economic, social or cultural disadvantage. To find a Community Legal Centre near you or one that deals with your particular matter, search the CLC directory and map.
There is a range of legal advice, information and court support services directed at Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders. For details, see Court support for Aboriginal people.
LawAccess NSW is a free government telephone service that provides legal information, referrals and, in some cases, advice. Call LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529.
The LawAccess NSW website is a useful starting point to search for information about the law and legal issues.
LawAssist is a website created by LawAccess NSW that can help you if you have a legal problem in NSW and are representing yourself. It explains legal procedures and forms for court and tribunal cases.
The Legal Information Access Centre (LIAC) is a specialised legal research and information centre for the public. Law librarians at the centre can help you find legal information relevant to your issue. The LIAC website provides helpful legal answers to everyday questions about the law in NSW.
LIAC also has a list of public libraries with special legal resources and staff trained to provide a legal information service.
Coming to the Court
How to represent yourself
How to have someone to represent you