Legal assistance provides access to the law for many people who would otherwise be unable to afford a lawyer to press their claims in court or assist them in other ways with legal problems. This work can be done either by lawyers on a salary employed by a government-funded agency, or by private solicitors who are paid to represent clients for particular cases.
There are a number of agencies which provide legal assistance in one form or another — the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania, community legal centres, Environmental Defenders’ office, the Tenants’ Union, the Women’s Legal Service, and the Aboriginal Legal Service. At first glance, the legal aid system seems very complicated. However, each of these agencies is aware of the services offered by the others and can readily refer people to the right place when contacted. The services provided by each of these agencies are described here.