|What is a Community Legal Centre?|
|Community legal centres (CLCs) provide free legal services to the public. They are non-profit community organisations recognised as an accredited community legal centre by state and national peak bodies.|
There are around 200 Australian community legal centres. About 20 CLCs are unfunded or receive very little funding, and are operated entirely by volunteers. All other CLCs receive funding from a variety of sources, including state and federal governments and philanthropic organisations.
Community legal centres are a vital part of their communities, and offer effective and creative solutions to legal problems based on their experience within their community. It is the community relationship that makes CLCs very responsive to emergent and changing community needs. It is the relationship with their community that distinguishes CLCs from other legal services.
Community legal centres harness the energy and expertise of thousands of volunteers across the country. CLCs are committed to collaborating with government, legal aid commissions, the private legal profession and community partners to ensure the best outcomes for their clients and the justice system in Australia.
|People seeking help from community legal centres often face economic, social or cultural disadvantage. Many CLC clients have a disability, come from a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse background, or experience severe financial hardship. Many CLC clients earn less than $26,000 a year.|
A CLC client's legal problem often significantly affects their life circumstances. Clients may face homelessness as a result of experiencing domestic and family violence, poverty as a result of an unfair dismissal or a refusal to grant a social security payment, or adverse health consequences as a result of suffering elder abuse.
|What do CLCs do?|
|Community legal centres provide:|
legal advice, |
discrete legal task assistance, |
duty lawyer services, |
representation services in Courts, Tribunals and dispute resolution venues, and |
other representation services|
|in accordance with service agreements, casework guidelines and funding constraints.|
Community legal centres also undertake community development, community legal education and law reform projects that are based on client need, are preventative in outcome, and strengthen the community they service.
|Types of community legal centres|
|Many CLCs are generalist and offer a variety of civil, family, and criminal law services. |
Some generalist CLCs provide specialist legal services in areas such as social security rights, mental health, elder abuse, disability discrimination, or immigration.
Other CLCs are standalone specialist CLCs focusing entirely on a particular area of law such as consumer law, tenancy, or employment.
Some CLCs provide targeted services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, older people, LGBTI people, refugees, prisoners, the homeless, children and young people, and other groups.
|Our Peak Bodies|
|Community Legal Centres Queensland is the peak body representing Queensland community legal centres, including Townsville Community Legal Service.|
|The National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) is the national peak body for Australian community legal centres. Its members are state and territory community legal centre peak bodies, which represent around 200 community legal centres across Australia.|
The NACLC logo and trademark seen on our website identifies CLCs accredited by NACLC that:
|Are members of their respective state and territory associations;|
Comply with risk management, financial management, and other quality standards; and|
Are subject to peer quality review.|
|This quality mark ensures that the public can be confident about the quality of service they receive from accredited community legal centres.|