Free Legal Support in NSW: The Law Society Pro Bono Scheme

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law-books-for-youThe Law Society’s Pro Bono Scheme can put you in contact with law firms willing to provide their legal services for free or for reduced fees.

This assistance can include legal advice, help with preparing documentation and representation in court.

The Law Society’s Pro Bono Scheme also provides legal assistance on an ‘in-house’ basis for eligible applicants.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for assistance under the Scheme, applicants must:

  • have applied for and been refused Legal Aid assistance for their legal matter (proof of this is required);
  • satisfy the means assessment applied by the Scheme;
  • have a matter that has merit and/or reasonable prospects of success;
  • have a type of matter covered by the Scheme.

Guidelines

Types of matters covered by the Scheme

  • Administrative law
  • Assistance with Apprehended Violence Orders
  • Bankruptcy
  • Child care and protection
  • Civil claims
  • Criminal law
  • Divorce
  • Employment law
  • Family law matters related to children (eg. live with, spend time with disputes)
  • Immigration assistance for refugees
  • Legal assistance for not-for-profit organisations and charities
  • Wills and Estates
Types of matters not covered by the Scheme
  • Child support disputes
  • Commercial disputes
  • Complaints about solicitors
  • Defamation
  • Dispute regarding legal costs
  • Family law matters related solely property
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Neighbourhood disputes including fence disputes
  • Personal injury claims
  • Professional negligence
  • Spousal maintenance claims and related disputes
  • Victim’s compensation claims
  • Workers compensation claims

The Law Society’s Pro Bono Solicitor has the sole discretion to accept matters that are outside these guidelines due to exceptional circumstances, including disability, risk of physical harm to the applicant and extreme financial hardship.

How do I apply?

Complete and submit the online Application for Pro Bono Referral Form.

Whilst we encourage all applicants to complete an application online we accept paper applications from applicants that cannot use this option.

Please follow these instructions:

1.   Print out the Application for Pro Bono Referral Form:

2.   Fill out the form in full and sign and date on the back page.

3.   Attach your supporting documentation including the following:

  • Legal Aid refusal letter.
  • Bank statements for the last 3 months (for the applicant and any financially associated persons).
  • A print out from Centrelink detailing the entitlements the applicant is in receipt of (and any financially associated persons)
  • Last three (3) payslips if working (and any financially associated persons)
  • Any other supporting documentation including relevant court documentation.

4.   Send the completed and signed application form and all documentation to:

The Law Society of New South Wales
The Pro Bono Scheme
170 Phillip Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Please be advised of the following:

  • We require a minimum of ten (10) working days to assess applications. During this period we are unable to take inquiries as to the status of applications.
  • We do not commence work on applications until all documentation is received by the Scheme.
  • Due to the large number of applications received daily we are not in a position to confirm receipt of applications or documents via telephone or email.
  • We do not accept facsimiles.
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