What is legal aid?

Last updated

1 July 2020

‘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 court).

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 Service);
  • 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.

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Getting help

Buy the chapter ‘How legal aid can help’