Legal Aid Sydney falls under the Legal Aid Commission Act of 1979 of New South Wales. It is an independent statutory body. Disadvantaged members of the Sydney and New South Wales community are entitled to make an application to this body for legal aid and other legal services. The Legal Aid body is governed by ten board members. They are appointed to office by the Attorney General New South Wales and decide on the policies and strategies to implement. This board stands for certain important groups such as the Bar Association of New South Wales and the Law Society of New South Wales and welfare groups. It is the Chief Executive who takes care of the daily running of Legal Aid or LA New South Wales and is assisted by the Executive.
A function of Legal Aid Sydney is to ensure that disadvantaged individuals have their rights protected. This body understands it can only be accomplished if people are provided fair access to the law. The most disadvantaged groups are those who are institutionalized, women, non English speaking and Torres Strait islanders and Aboriginal people. The applications of these groups receive preference.
Legal Aid Sydney and throughout New South Wales has offices and clinics for advice. These are to be found in both urban and rural areas. The group also has private lawyers to represent their disadvantaged clients. Grants are given for admin law, veteran’s issues, family, mental health and criminal matters. Strictly speaking, legal aids are not completely free as clients often have to pay some money towards a court case. This is seen as a contribution and the amount will vary because it depends on the individual’s financial situation.
To be accepted by the group, an applicant must be eligible. To find out whether you are eligible there is a means test indicator for this purpose. The means test will identify to you whether you are financially eligible for assistance. It is important to note that this is one of the tests you must go through. There are other tests that take into account other issues and not just your finances. Passing the provided Means Test Indicator does not mean you are eligible. You must also take the other tests.
If you are eligible then financial advice is free and a consultation will take around twenty minutes. It is when court cases are involved that you would be expected to make a contribution towards the cost. A private Legal Aid lawyer will represent you and take care of your brief.