Free legal help for people on the Central Coast

Need Free Legal Help?

If you have a legal problem and you live, work or study on the NSW Central Coast but you can’t afford a lawyer, the chances are we can help you.

How can we help?

We provide confidential, free information and advice about most common legal problems, either on the phone or in person, at our office or at one of our outreach clinics.

In some instances we can also help with advocacy. This means negotiating with the other side of a legal dispute, writing letters, doing research and preparing legal documents. We usually only do this for people who are vulnerable and experiencing social and economic disadvantage (otherwise we will help you with the information and advice you need so you can do this yourself).

If you need help with going to court we may be able to refer you to another service for free or low-cost representation.

Working with clients

Working with clients

How does it work?

Call us during business hours (9.00am to 5.00pm) or leave a message.

If your problem is urgent — ie., you are in immediate danger or have an imminent court case—we will try and help you right away.

Otherwise we will take your details and get back to you within 24 hours to find out more about your problem and arrange an appointment for you to speak with a lawyer—usually within the next ten working days.

(When calling you back we will try to reach you up to three times. Where possible we will leave you a message as long we’ve been told it’s safe to. If we are unable to reach you after three attempts we will give up.)

Please note that unless there is a good reason not to, we will only provide you with information and advice on the phone. The exception to this is matters involving sexual assault or family violence or if there is a communication barrier (for example, if you need an interpreter or have a disability that makes it difficult to use the phone).

Who do we help?

We aim to help anyone living, working or studying on the NSW Central Coast with a legal problem who can’t afford a lawyer, but we give priority to people who are the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

This includes:

people who are Centrelink recipients or experiencing financial hardship
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
people living with a disability or mental illness
people experiencing family violence
people at risk of homelessness

If you do not fit any of these categories we will provide you with general information and advice so you can help yourself. This can actually be a much faster way to solve your problem.

What sort of legal problems can we help with?

Most of our work is in family law, AVOs, debt and fines. The most common legal problems we help with are:

Family or relationship

Contact with children, parenting agreements, child support, mediation and divorce

Violence

Domestic/family violence, physical/sexual assaults, victims of violence, AVOs

Owing money/debt

Credit card debts, difficulty paying loans, debt collectors

Fines

SDRO debts, other fines, Work & Development Orders (WDOs)

Rip-offs/goods or services

Unfair contracts, insurance, door-to-door sales, scams, funeral policies

Victims of crime

Victims support, victims services, victims compensation

Discrimination/harassment

In employment, education, provision of goods and services, housing

Complaints

Against police, schools, government agencies/departments

Employment

Loss of employment, unfair dismissal, entitlements, bullying/harassment

Care and protection

Issues with FaCS/DoCS, early intervention, care plans, kinship care, contact

Older persons

Power of attorney, guardianship

Neighbourhood disputes

Trees, fences, noise

Minor criminal charges

Traffic offences and other matters where there is little chance of imprisonment

Car accidents

Driving and accidents, property damage

Privacy

Protecting your privacy and personal information

We also work closely with a number of other community service organisations. So if we can’t help you, we’ll refer you to someone who can.

Can you help yourself?

Because we have such high demand for our services, you will be able to solve your problem faster if you start by trying to help yourself first.

Our resources page has links to high quality, up to date, reliable information and detailed self-help guides on all of the most common legal problems people face. We encourage you to look there before calling us.