Indigenous Legal Assistance
Our legal assistance services provided in criminal, civil and family law matters involve:
- Advice Matters – Legal advice or information that is not provided as part of Duty or Casework Matters. This includes the provision of a free-call telephone advice service, referrals, preliminary assistance in the writing of short letters and the completion of forms;
- Duty Matters – Attendance at court and receipt of initial instructions by a lawyer. This includes all mentions, pleas, applications including for bail, or adjournments performed on a duty lawyer basis, or where the matter is completed on the same day; and
- Casework Matters – Ongoing legal services in relation to a particular legal problem, such as conducting a defended hearing. It is not necessary that the matter involve litigation. Casework Matters may also include the provision of detailed legal advice or the negotiation of a claim for or against the client.
ATSILS also provides 24 hour legal representation and advice on criminal matters for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
With limited resources available and to ensure we direct our services towards applicants in the greatest need of assistance, all applications for Indigenous legal services involving casework are subject to means and merit tests. Depending upon the results of these tests, applicants will fall into one of three categories:
- Applicants eligible to receive free legal assistance.
- Applicants eligible to receive legal assistance subject to payment of contributions (on a sliding scale) towards the cost of assistance.
- Applicants not eligible to receive legal aid assistance
An applicant automatically satisfies the means test if one of the following applies:
- They are under the age of 18.
- Their main source of income comes from CDEP participant wages or Centrelink benefits.
- Their gross personal income is less than $52,000 per annum.
Note: Means testing only applies to Casework matters.