Applications are assessed on a merit and means basis in order to determine whether a matter is appropriate for referral. If an application is eligible for referral, Law Access will then attempt to find lawyers who are willing to assist without charging their usual fees.
We do not provide legal advice or assistance directly and we do not meet applicants in person. We do not have lawyers here who are able to provide you with legal advice or assistance. We only make a referral if they are assessed as being appropriate for referral according to our eligibility criteria.
It is important that applicants continue to meet all court commitments or commence any necessary legal action within statutory time limits, even if they have submitted an application to Law Access. This is because we are a referral service only and we are not the applicant’s lawyer.
As we receive many applications and we have limited resources, assessing an application may take some time, particularly if it involves complex issues of law and fact. We cannot normally assess applications urgently, so may not be able to do so in time for any hearing or other deadline in the near future.
We also cannot guarantee that we will be able to refer a matter to a lawyer as we are dependent on a member of the legal profession being available and agreeing to assist. As a referral service we are entirely dependent on a lawyer, who runs their own business, agreeing to assist applicants in need without charging their usual fees. The lawyers who accept Law Access referrals give their time voluntarily to the community.
Am I eligible to get legal help from Law Access?
In order to be eligible for referral through our Referral Service, you must meet the following criteria:
- You cannot obtain legal aid or assistance from a Community Legal Centre.
- You cannot afford a lawyer. If you already have a lawyer, you should continue to engage them if you feel you are in a position to afford their services. In this case, we would be unable to refer your matter. Alternatively, if you can no longer afford their services, you should complete a Notice that Party is Acting in Person (for litigious matters) or advise your lawyer that you are terminating your retainer (for non-litigious matters). We are unable to assess your application until this step is taken. However, taking this step does not guarantee your eligibility for referral.
- You cannot obtain “no win, no fee” legal assistance (often available in personal injury claims).
- On balancing the prospects of success, the outcome being sought and the cost of running your case, your matter justifies pro bono legal assistance.
Eligible matter types
- Administrative appeals and tribunals
- Animal welfare
- Banking and finance
- Bankruptcy and insolvency
- Breach of contract
- Commercial law
- Contested deceased estates
- Coronial matters
- Corporate law
- Criminal injuries compensation
- Criminal offences – vulnerable applicants
- Employment law
- Environmental law
- Family Law – vulnerable applicants
- Human rights and equal opportunity
- Immigration law
- Indigenous corporations
- Intellectual property
- Loans, mortgage agreements
- Not-for-profit associations and clubs
- Property and conveyancing
- Protection and care matters
- Trade practices
- Any other matter as deemed appropriate by Law Access Ltd, at any time
When Law Access cannot help
We do not refer:
- Defamation matters.
- Minor criminal law matters.
- Building disputes or complex commercial disputes or business matters, unless in our view the circumstances warrant pro bono assistance and the matter otherwise meets our eligibility criteria.
- Matters that are so urgent that we could not complete a sufficient assessment or reasonably ask our members to accept a referral.
- Matters which do not apply WA law or which are not otherwise connected to WA, for example, a matter being heard in a court outside of WA.
- Disputes going through internal complaints mechanisms.
- Intractable disputes between neighbours including dividing fences disputes.
- Matters which are customarily or can adequately be dealt with by the applicant without legal representation or assistance.
- Personal injury and negligence. Many law firms will act in personal injury and negligence matters on a ‘no win no fee’ basis, if they think it has legal merit.
- Defending restraining orders.
- Uncontested deceased estates.
- Social security (except if at Administrative Appeals Tribunal level).
What if Law Access cannot help you?
If your matter is ineligible for referral or we cannot find a lawyer to help you, we will write to you explaining why we were unable to refer your matter. If we can, we will also provide you with practical information regarding your options and suggest other agencies you could contact for assistance.