COVID-19: Service changes
To protect you and our staff, and to assist in slowing the spread of COVID-19, there may be some changes to the way that we deliver services. All Legal Aid WA services are still available.
Our Infoline and web Infochat services remain unchanged. If you need help, please call us on 1300 650 579 or start a chat with us. Please note due to increased demand there may be longer wait times than usual.
Reception areas in our Perth and regional offices remain open. Please do not attend our offices if you are unwell or need to self-isolate, contact our Infoline for help instead.
Our advice appointments and duty lawyer services may be provided by phone or video in some cases, instead of in person. The current arrangements for these services are detailed below.
*** Please understand that changes to how we provide our services may be made at short notice at this time.
Our offices will continue to provide advice appointments and remain open to the public.
Before attending an appointment, you will be asked a number of health-related questions to determine the safest way to assist you. In some cases your appointment will be conducted by telephone or video rather than face-to-face.
Attending courts and hearings
There may be restrictions on who can enter court buildings and hearings, as well as requirements such as mask wearing and social distancing. More information about any changes to court processes in WA is available on the website of each court:
- Magistrates Court of Western Australia
- District Court of Western Australia
- Supreme Court of Western Australia
- Children's Court of Western Australia
- Family Court of Western Australia
Duty lawyer services
Each duty lawyer service has its own process for providing assistance:
- Criminal Duty Lawyer Service
- Family Violence Restraining Order Duty Lawyer Service
- Family Court Duty Lawyer and Family Advocacy Support Service (FASS)
- Children’s Court (Protection) Service Duty Lawyer Service (CCPS)
Criminal Law Duty Lawyer Service
The information below is only for the Perth and metropolitan Magistrates courts. If you live in a regional area, please contact your local Legal Aid WA office to find out how the duty lawyer service is being provided in your region.
The Criminal Duty Lawyer Service continues to provide face-to-face services in the Magistrates Courts and Children's Courts in Perth and the metropolitan area, with some minor changes. We will ask you some screening questions to determine the safest way to assist you. In some cases we may assist you by telephone rather than in-person. We will require you to wear a face mask during any face-to-face appointments.
If you are referred to the Duty Lawyer Service, you should:
- arrive at court early on the morning of your appearance;
- bring any court documents and paperwork you received from Police, including the Statement of Material Facts, and any other relevant documents;
- tell the court orderly that you are at court and that you will speak to the duty lawyer; and
- put your name down for the duty lawyer service and wait to be called by the duty lawyer.
There is a high demand for the duty lawyer service at this time and you may experience a longer than expected wait time to speak to a lawyer. We ask for your patience as we provide our service in the safest way possible for everyone. If you have any specific concerns, please let your duty lawyer know as soon as possible.
If you are due to appear in court but you are unwell or need to self-isolate, please call the relevant court to advise them of this and follow their directions. See Attending courts and hearings above for links to each of the criminal court’s websites.
Family Violence Restraining Order (FVRO) Duty Lawyer Service
Legal Aid WA’s Domestic Violence Legal Unit (DVLU) Duty Lawyer Service continues to provide legal assistance and representation in court for eligible clients.
If you are well and do not need to self-isolate, and you would like help to apply for an FVRO at the Perth Magistrates Court, please follow these steps:
- Go to Legal Aid WA's DVLU office on level 5 at the Perth Magistrates Court. The office is located near the glass doors outside court 57.
- Telephone 0437 883 789 and ask to speak with the DVLU (Duty Lawyer) paralegal. If you do not have a telephone, please go to the court registry on the ground floor and ask to use the public telephone.
- Our paralegal we will ask you some questions about yourself and your matter, including some health-related screening questions.
- If you are eligible for assistance from DVLU, a duty lawyer will have an appointment with you to provide you with legal advice. You will be required to wear a mask, observe social distancing and follow all protocols as directed to keep you and our staff safe. In some cases we may offer telephone assistance only.
- The Duty Lawyer will then represent you in court, possibly by telephone.
These measures are to protect you and our staff, and to assist in slowing the spread of COVID-19 through the community. If you have concerns about attending court, do not hesitate to contact the court or DVLU prior to your attendance.
If you are unwell or need to self-isolate, but you want to apply for an FVRO or have a court date, you can telephone the Perth Magistrates Court on 9425 2222 and tell them about your situation. The court will give you directions on how your matters will be handled.
You can also now apply online for an FVRO through Legal Aid WA and other approved legal service providers. To find out more see: Changes to applying for an FVRO
Family Court Duty Lawyer and Family Advocacy Support Service (FASS)
Legal Aid WA's Family Court Services and Family Advocacy Support Services continue to provide legal assistance and social support during COVID-19.
If you have a matter in the Family Court or you urgently need advice in relation to a Family Law matter, you can get over the phone assistance from our duty lawyer service (FCS) and FASS social support worker by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your full name, date of birth, telephone contact details and a brief description of what you require help with. If you need assistance with an upcoming court date, please include the time and date of your hearing. One of our team will contact you as soon as possible to discuss your matter and how we can assist.
If you are unable to email us, you can call us on (08) 9224 8690. If we are busy with other calls, please leave a detailed voice message and we will return your call.
While the Family Court remains open, we will be available to assist you if you need to attend court in person and speak to our staff. We will ask you some health-related screening questions before speaking with you face-to-face at court. You will be required to wear a mask, observe social distancing and follow all protocols as directed to keep you and our staff safe. In some cases we may offer telephone assistance only.
If you have a court hearing but are unwell or need to self-isolate, please call the Family Court's Call Centre on (08) 9224 8222 to ask for procedural advice. Tell the court you need to self-isolate and follow the court’s directions.
More information about the court's COVID-19 measures is available from the Family Court of WA website.
Children’s Court (Protection) Services Duty Lawyer Service
Legal Aid WA’s Children’s Court (Protection) Services (CCPS) is continuing to provide duty lawyer services at the Perth Children’s Court.
If you are referred to the duty lawyer for a child protection matter you should:
- Arrive at court early on the morning of your appearance, and
- check in with the paralegal at Children’s Court (Protection) Services. The office is open from 8.30 am.
We will ask you some health-related screening questions before speaking with you face-to-face at court. You will be required to wear a mask, observe social distancing and follow all protocols as directed to keep you and our staff safe. In some cases we may offer telephone assistance only.
If you are unable to attend court in-person, please call Children’s Court (Protection) Services on (08) 9218 0160.
More information about the court's COVID-19 measures can be found on the Children's Court website.
Reviewed: 17 May 2022 9:00 am.