Family Court of Western Australia

Legal Aid

Legal Aid WA has a duty lawyer service on-site at the Court.

The duty lawyer service with people who require urgent assistance with family law matters.

The service is designed to assist you in minor matters in court and provide legal support if you have started a case in the Family Court or are thinking about doing so. For example, if you:

  • need urgent legal advice and assistance
  • have a court date that day (or the next day) and need advice or representation
  • have been served with documents and have not had a chance to respond.

Our service is based on means and immediate need, and doesn't accept appointments. To see the legal aid service, you need to be referred by the family court registry.

The service cannot represent you on an ongoing basis and cannot represent you at trial. If you need ongoing representation you will need to apply for a Legal Aid grant.

The duty lawyer service is part of Family Court Services, which also has a social support worker on site who can provide non-legal support services in the form of:

  • counselling
  • safety planning
  • referrals to other services

What services do the duty lawyers provide?

The legal aid duty lawyers can:

  • apply for adjournments
  • appear for you in short matters
  • provide limited assistance to you in the Child Related Hearings List
  • assist you in preparing documents for court in some urgent cases where circumstances are assessed as requiring immediate assistance
  • negotiate between you and the other party (or the other party's solicitors)
  • prepare minutes of consent orders in limited circumstances
  • provide advice and minor assistance
  • advise you of the other options and services available in the family law system
  • guide you to family dispute resolution services, and
  • help you with an application for legal aid.

How much the duty lawyer can help you will depend on your personal situation, including the urgency and seriousness of your issue and the needs of other people using the service on the same day.

How to access the duty lawyer service

Family Court Services is located at the Family Court of Western Australia's registry. When you arrive at the court you should go to the front counter of the Registry (the main office) of the Family Court. The staff at the front counter will direct you to our service. There is high demand for the duty lawyer service, so it is best to attend the registry in the morning to increase your chances of access to the service.

Last updated: 16-Apr-2018

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