Tasmania Legal Aid is an independent statutory body set up by the Legal Aid Commission Act 1990 (Tas). We commenced operation on 1 January 1991. Tasmania Legal Aid operates at arms-length from Government but is accountable to the Minister for Justice. We are the largest government-funded legal assistance service in Tasmania and we play a central role in providing access to justice for disadvantaged Tasmanians. The Commission is governed by a Board of five and has a staff of 84 full-time employees.
Tasmania Legal Aid is funded by both Federal and State Governments. For further information on our funding see National Legal Aid - Finance. Our Commonwealth and State law programs determine the amount of money we receive. Our funding is used for representation, advice, duty solicitor and assignment functions, community education, and the general costs of running our organisation.
All Tasmanians are safe, respected and have their voices heard.
To provide legal services to help Tasmanians understand their rights, navigate the system to resolve their legal issues, and get the assistance they need o To support and advocate for vulnerable and marginalised Tasmanians o To work with our clients, staff , legal partners and community to improve the legal system.
- We communicate openly and clearly
- We provide clear, accurate and realistic advice; are accountable to our clients, our partners and our community.
- We speak up, listen to diff erent views, and willingly take on feedback
- We advocate for our clients, our sector and our organisation; are open to new ideas and adaptable to change.
- We are involved in the design of services, programs and policies
- We are committed to the best outcomes for our clients and our community; and work collaboratively with our partners and our clients.
What we do
We provide a range of quality legal services across Tasmania through four offices. Our focus is on economically and socially disadvantaged Tasmanians. We provide preventative services such as information about the law through our website and through community legal education sessions. We deliver early intervention services through our telephone advice line, face-to-face consultations, duty lawyer services, minor assistance, and mediation services. We also provide legal representation in court delivered through grants of aid to private lawyers and to in-house lawyers.
Everyone can receive free advice from our telephone advice service or our clinic advice sessions where you can speak face-to-face with a lawyer. If you are appearing in the Magistrates Court, our Duty Lawyer may be able to provide information about court procedure, bail applications, pleas and penalties. If you are a self-represented litigant in the Family Court or the Federal Magistrates Court, you will be able to get procedural advice at the special sessions we run in conjunction with those Courts.
We have a Duty Lawyer located at the Magistrates Court who may be able to help you, if you require genuine assistance. The Duty Lawyer may be able to provide you with free representation if you have been arrested and wish to apply for bail or if you would be eligible for legal aid but have not yet applied. We are able to provide representation in other criminal matters and family law matters to people who have applied for, and been granted, legal aid.
Family Dispute Resolution
We offer FDR conferences in family law matters to people who might not have otherwise been able to obtain our representation or assistance. The FDR conferences aim to settle a dispute in its early stages, reducing the need to go through the Family Court, which can be a traumatic process for all parties involved. Agreements reached in an FDR conference are drafted as consent orders and lodged with the Family Court to be formalised. The agreement then has the same effect as if the Family Court had made the orders. The FDR conferences benefit the parties, let us use our resources more efficiently and reduce the pressure on the Family Court and the Federal Magistrates Court.
Community legal education and information (CLEI)
Our lawyers run seminars on a variety of legal topics to schools, community groups or organisations throughout Tasmania. These seminars are free of charge and can be tailored to suit the needs of your particular group. For more information on this service, contact our telephone advice service.