- The organisation must be a not-for-profit community organisation. That is, the rules of the organisation must prevent its funds from being distributed to its members at any time, including upon winding up.
- The organisation must have a sufficient connection with WA.
- The organisation cannot afford to pay for legal services. Law Access seeks to ensure that organisations do not need to divert their limited funds to legal expenditure, where the funds could be better utilised for their core purpose. To that end we prioritise organisations which are largely run by volunteers and larger organisations where the legal assistance will impact a large number of people or other organisations.
- The organisation must have exhausted alternative avenues for assistance. They should look first to assistance from peak bodies and specialist legal advice centres. They should also apply for funding for the legal assistance, if any is available.
- The organisation’s aims must be in the public interest. That is, its aims are to serve the broader community, rather than only its members. Priority will be given to charitable organisations (those who address individual or community disadvantage).
- Law Access will not be able to assist organisations with internal disputes or assist organisations with disputes with other not-for-profit organisations. The rationale for this is that it is not our position to judge which individual or organization the public interest lies with.
- Law Access can assist with matters outside of these guidelines at our discretion, particularly in matters where issues of public interest are raised. Generally, priority will be given to those experiencing the greatest hardship (either the organisation, or those it assists). Other factors to be taken into account are the resources of the lawyers who provide pro bono assistance, and the capacity of Law Access.
Additional considerations for start-up not-for-profit applicants
Law Access will take the following additional matters into account when assessing whether they should be referred:
- Have they got a clear idea of the aims and purposes of the proposed
organisation (a draft mission statement for the organisation)?
- Have they considered the availability of existing services, the necessity of a new organisation and whether the start-up can work
together with existing organisations?
- Have they got details of the proposed programs/services the new organisation plans to provide or carry out?
- Have they given proper consideration to the governance
arrangements for the proposed organisation (for example, the names
of potential directors or committee members); and
- Have they got a realistic financial plan with appropriate consideration to potential funding sources?