We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions for your reference.
We do not charge our clients a fee for our services. We are a non-profit community organisation. In certain matters you may be required to pay money to third parties, for example filing fees to the Local Court. You will be responsible for making these payments as the Centre does not operate a trust account and is not able to hold or pay any money on behalf of clients.
You should not record a Centre Solicitor as a representative in your matter, for example on an unfair dismissal application or on Court documents unless you are instructed that the Centre will be providing you with such assistance.
Community Legal Centres (CLCs) and Legal Aid both provide advice, case work and legal education to socially and economically disadvantaged people. CLCs are independent, not-for-profit, community-based organisations. CLCs are run by a committee of local community members and have the added benefit of being able to respond to local issues more flexibly. CLCs do not have a formal means test and are able to assist clients that may not be eligible for Legal Aid. Legal Aid NSW is overseen by a Board, appointed by the NSW Attorney General.
Centre Administrators will usually be your first point of contact. They will record details including your name, date of birth, the name of the other party, English proficiency, income bracket, your problem type and your country of birth. Your matter will then be allocated to a Centre Solicitor suitably qualified to give you advice on that particular area of law.
We collect this information so we can get an understanding of our clients and how we can best serve them with our resources. We also perform a conflict check using the other person’s name to first make sure that we haven’t already helped the other person. If we have not seen the other person, we can help you.
No. To give clients the best service, we can only help one side. This is because the information you give us is confidential and we won’t be able to act in your best interest if we are also advising the other side.
No. We need to receive information such as your name so we can perform a conflict check.
Yes, we provide confidential advice to clients. We will only ever contact the other party in your matter if we have your explicit consent. For example, we may contact the other party to assist with negotiating your matter or request further information. We will not disclose what you have said to us.
The Centre may in some circumstances represent clients before Courts or Tribunals. However you should not assume that a Centre Solicitor will represent you just because you have received advice from them in the past.
We do not have a unified means test for all our services. We may take into account some of the following factors when determining if we can assist clients:
- Client’s income
- Client’s geographic area
- Whether we can provide advice on the specific area of law
You are entitled to follow the Centre’s Complaints process, outlined below.
- A staff member will inform you that your complaint has been received.
- Your complaint will be examined within 5 business days of receipt.
- You will be informed in writing within 10 business days of what is being done to investigate and resolve your complaint and the expected time frame for resolution.
- You may be contacted for more information. You have the right to a support person at any stage of the complaints process. Support people may include a friend, advocate, community elder or an interpreter if required.
- You will be informed in writing of the outcome.
- If you are unhappy with how we handled your complaint, you can call the Office of the Legal Services Commissioner telephone inquiry line on (02) 9377 1800 to discuss your complaint with OLSC staff.
- As far as possible, complaints will be investigated and resolved within 21 days of being received. If this time frame cannot be met, you will be informed of the reasons why and of the alternative time frame for resolution.
Your complaint will be dealt with:
Without affecting your right to get more help from the Centre.