Community lawyers may not be able to assist your client with all or some of the legal issues identified in the Legal Health Check if:
- the community lawyer does not practise in the area of law that your client needs assistance with. For example, some community lawyers do not provide assistance in family law or criminal law matters. In these situations, the community lawyer may refer your client to another legal service.
- there is a conflict of interest that prevents the community lawyer from acting for your client in relation to a particular issues.
- there is no legal solution for the issue. Some legal issues have limitation periods which prevent clients from enforcing their rights if they do not take action promptly. In other cases, there is no legal basis to challenge a decision or action. If a community lawyer is not able to assist a client, they will normally explain why this is the case and may refer the client to other support services or complaint agencies.
Depending on the issues you identify using the Legal Health Check, your client may receive assistance from more than one community lawyer. For example, in Queensland Legal Aid Queensland may assist with a family law matter and LawRight’s Homeless Persons’ Legal Clinic may help with an electricity debt.
Community lawyers provide services on a spectrum:
More clients will receive simpler services, and the level of service will depend on the legal service and the legal issue. Each legal service will apply strict guidelines about who gets the more complex services. You can help your client understand these limits by speaking to the community lawyers at the legal service first.
Most community lawyers will be able to give your client some general advice or information about the steps to take to resolve their legal issues. Ideally, you can remain involved and support the client to understand the advice, and take the right steps to resolve the issue.
In our experience, the best outcomes for clients occur when community agencies establish partnerships with community lawyers who can deliver casework assistance for issues included in the Legal Health Check. For more information about how to establish a Legal Health Check pathway, see the Resources section of this website.
Lawyers in community legal may collaborate with community agencies to establish outreach legal services or clinics. Consider some of the outreach services available in the Find a Lawyer section of this website.