Structure and functions of Legal Aid WA
The Legal Aid Commission is the governing body of Legal Aid WA. The Commission is an independent statutory authority that operates under the Legal Aid Commission Act 1976 (WA). Legal Aid WA has eight regional offices and a head office in Perth.
Legal Aid WA provides information and resources to assist the community with their legal concerns and offers a range of services aimed at target groups or individuals with particular legal problems. Assistance is designed to help people resolve their problems at the earliest opportunity, to improve their access to the law, to avoid unnecessary litigation, and to ensure that legal representation is in keeping with community expectations for fairness.
Functions affecting the public and arrangements enabling public participation in the performance of functions and policy formulation
In administering the scheme of legal assistance established by the Legal Aid Commission Act 1976 (WA), Legal Aid WA, applies eligibility criteria including financial and merit testing to decide who is eligible for a grant of legal aid. Every person who is refused a grant of legal aid has a statutory right to request reconsideration and then review of that decision.
Legal Aid WA consults with the legal profession and community organisations about relevant policy changes to ensure their input and interests are heard.
The public can give feedback to Legal Aid WA at any time.
Documents held by Legal Aid WA
Legal Aid WA holds comprehensive information on all people who receive legal assistance. Client files are kept for seven years from the date of inactivity or finalisation of a case. Client information is also kept on a client profile information system that provides a summary of the services provided. Client profile information is kept indefinitely.
These files contain Legal Aid WA documentation on the operation and management of the organisation. They are classified using a specific Legal Aid WA Business Classification Scheme based on the Keyword AAA thesaurus. These files are kept in accordance with Legal Aid WA's approved Retention and Disposal Schedule.
Legal Aid WA has a wide range of publications which are available free of charge via our website under the publications tab or from any Legal Aid WA office (see below for address details).
Public access to information - Freedom of Information
Wherever possible, Legal Aid WA will provide information outside the formal Freedom of Information process. To informally request information contact the Legal Aid WA office that you had dealings with or the Legal Aid WA head office if that office has closed.
Freedom of Information applications
Formal freedom of information (FOI) applications can be made at any Legal Aid WA office. Applications must be made in writing with enough information to identify the documents as clearly as possible, such as names, addresses, subject matter, dates and any file or reference numbers including whether you would like to inspect or purchase the document/s. A return address in Australia must be provided, and if possible a contact telephone number. The Freedom of Information Co-ordinator in Perth (phone (08) 9261 6222) can assist with any enquiries.
Amending personal information
An applicant may wish to apply to change the information contained in a document that relates to them. To do so the applicant must provide written reasons why they believe the information is inaccurate, incomplete, out of date, or misleading and may also need to provide documentary proof to support their belief. The applicant must also provide details of the way in which they wish the change to be made (for example, by altering information, by striking out or deleting, information, by inserting information, or inserting a note in relation to information).
Legal Aid WA will advise the applicant in writing of its decision within 45 days of an FOI application being lodged and within 30 days for applications to amend personal information. The applicant will be told the date of the decision, the name and designation of the decision-maker, if the document is an exempt document the reasons for classifying the matter exempt, or the fact that access is given to an edited document. The applicant will also be told the amount and basis of any fees, and of any rights of review and the review process.
Legal Aid offices in Western Australia
GPO Box L916
PERTH WA 6842
PO Box 5510
ALBANY WA 6332
PO Box 2242
BUNBURY WA 6231
PO Box 7141
Geraldton WA 6531
PO Box 10404
KALGOORLIE WA 6433
PO Box 2254
SOUTH HEDLAND WA 6722
PO Box 910
BROOME WA 6725
Christmas and Cocos Island
Admin Building, Gaze Road
INDIAN OCEAN WA 6798
PO Box 1092
KUNUNURRA WA 6743
Last reviewed: 26/06/2015