‘Legal aid’ refers to free or low-cost legal services that help people resolve their legal problems. In Victoria, this includes services such as:
- legal information;
- legal advice;
- ongoing legal help;
- legal representation (e.g. in An independent body that hears legal claims brought by parties and decides between them. Serious cases are heard by a judge and jury, or just a judge. Less-serious cases are heard by a magistrate.).
Who provides legal aid?
The agencies that provide legal aid services can be grouped as follows:
- Victoria Legal Aid;
- community legal centres (e.g. Fitzroy Legal Formal delivery of legal documents to a person to tell them there are court proceedings against them which they must defend, or to make sure a witness in a case knows when they have to go to court to give evidence.);
- specialist community legal centres that focus on particular legal areas (e.g. the Mental Health Legal Centre, Environmental Justice Australia);
- specialist community legal centres that help particular groups (e.g. the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, Women’s Legal Service, Youthlaw);
- private law firms offering free legal advice and assistance (through grants of legal assistance or by referral from Justice Connect or the Law Institute of Victoria);
- a range of other organisations.
A list of agencies that provide legal services can be found in Chapter 2.4: Legal services that can help.