Civil law

Legal Aid WA provides assistance in a range of civil law matters. There are many different areas of civil law, some of which overlap with criminal or family law matters. 

Find out about our services for people:

  • who want to share their experiences with the Royal Commission into Defence and Veterans Suicide 
  • having difficulties with unpaid fines and infringements
  • needing legal advice or representation on a broad range of civil matters, including elder abuse and mortgage hardship
  • wanting to make a claim for compensation as a victim of crime
  • appealing to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, or
  • representing themselves in the Federal Court or Federal Circuit Court.

Legal advice and assistance

Daily appointments for legal advice on a range of civil law matters are available in person and by telephone with lawyers from the Civil Law Division of our Perth office. 

Our regional offices may also be able to offer legal advice about some civil law matters. If you live in a regional area, you can contact your nearest Legal Aid WA office to see what help they can give with your problem.

Defence and Veterans Legal Service

The Defence and Veterans Legal Service (DAVLS) provides free and independent legal advice and support to current and ex-serving members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), as well as their families, carers and supporters, who want to share their experiences with the Royal Commission into Defence and Veterans Suicide.  

It is an initiative set up by National Legal Aid, funded by the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department.

The Royal Commission wants to hear about the impact that ADF service has had on a current or ex-serving member’s mental health and wellbeing.  In particular, what they experienced during their service, the influence of ADF culture, the process of adjusting to civilian life post-transition, difficulties in obtaining veteran entitlements, and lived experience of suicide. 

It is important for people to tell the Royal Commission their story and to point out any systemic issues within the ADF or veteran support services so that there can be effective change.

The Defence and Veterans Legal Service can:

  • Provide legal advice about your rights and protections when engaging with the Royal Commission.
  • Support you to share your experiences safely (and anonymously if needed) through a submission or private session.  
  • Give you practical assistance in writing your submission to ensure that your story and message are communicated to the Royal Commission as effectively as possible.
  • Connect you with other services, such as counselling, advocacy and other legal support for matters that are not related to the Royal Commission.

The DAVLS solicitor for Western Australia is Mitchell Caubo. He has an office located at Veteran Central on Level 2 of ANZAC House. Mitch will be available at ANZAC House and is available for appointments face-to-face (subject to COVID-19 restrictions) or by telephone to suit your needs. You can also book an appointment by calling 1800 33 1800.

To find out more information visit the Defence and Veterans Legal Service website or call 1800 33 1800.

Work and Development Permit Service

Legal Aid WA’s Work and Development Permit Service matches disadvantaged people (or people experiencing hardship) with community sponsors to cut out court fines under a Work and Development Permit.

The Service provides:

  • legal advice and practical information for people with unpaid fines who are experiencing hardship
  • information, advice and referrals for clients who may have other legal issues that impact on their ability to pay their court fines – including domestic violence, unemployment, disability, debt and mortgage stress, guardianship and administration, and tenancy 
  • information sessions and community legal education about the Work and Development Permit Scheme
  • information for organisations interested in becoming approved sponsors under the Work and Development Permit Scheme, and
  • assistance for approved sponsors providing unpaid work or other therapeutic activities for clients engaged with their organisation.

If you are a community not-for-profit organisation or agency; a medical or allied health professional or service; or an education, training or life-skills course provider, you may be interested in this service for your clients. 

If you want to know more about the service, please refer to the factsheets below. You can call our WDP Hotline on 08 9261 6353 or email wdpservice@legalaid.wa.gov.au

Mortgage Hardship Service

We provide free legal advice and step by step practical information and assistance if you:

  • are having problems meeting repayments
  • are behind in repayments
  • have received a default notice, or
  • have received a Supreme Court writ for property repossession.
Quick Answers Video: Mortgage Hardship Service
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Elders Rights WA

We provide:

  • free legal advice and assistance to older people who have experienced elder abuse or who are at risk of experiencing elder abuse
  • representation in certain guardianship and administration matters in the State Administrative Tribunal
  • mediation or dispute resolution of suitable matters, and
  • information sessions and community legal education.
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Administrative Appeals Tribunal service

Our lawyers provide legal advice to people who have some types of cases listed in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The focus of the service is to investigate and advise on the legal merit of the appeal in cases dealing with social security, migration, veterans matters and child support. Referrals for legal advice are made by contacting the AAT Registry in Perth on (08) 9327 7200.

We may be able to provide some advice about visa matters in cases involving family violence or visa cancellation on character grounds.

The service does not provide duty lawyer representation in the tribunal hearing itself. If the lawyer believes that an appeal has suitable merit, a grant of aid for representation may be available.

Federal Courts Self-Represented Litigants Service

This service assists unrepresented litigants appearing in the Federal Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia. Legal advice and legal help is provided in a range of matters including bankruptcy, employment and immigration appeals. Legal Aid WA may be able to investigate the merits of applying for judicial review if a person's application for a protection visa has been refused.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Appeals

This service provides legal advice, assistance, and representation for eligible NDIS Appeals. This may include assistance for individuals who have been declined access to the NDIS, or for NDIS participants who disagree with a decision made by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), such as the funded supports in their plan. Legal Aid WA may assist with NDIS external appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). Referrals are welcome from any source.  

Representation for civil matters

Grants of aid may be available to have a lawyer advise and represent clients about limited civil matters including Criminal Injuries Compensation Act claims.

Your Story – Disability Legal Support Service

Your Story supports people with disability, their families, carers, supporters and advocates who want to tell their story to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

Your Story is independent from the Royal Commission and is a joint project of National Legal Aid and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services. It is funded by the Commonwealth Attorney General's Department. 

There is a Your Story lawyer located at Legal Aid WA who supports the national service by: 

  • offering legal support to people so they can engage with the Disability Royal Commission
  • referring people to local support agencies, including disability advocates who can help with preparing a submission to the Disability Royal Commission
  • helping people find a private lawyer who can offer representation at the Disability Royal Commission, and
  • offering community legal education about the Disability Royal Commission.

You can find out more about Your Story in our  Find Legal Answers section or visit the national Your Story website.

Get help

To find out what help we can give with civil law matters, call the Infoline or contact your nearest Legal Aid WA office.

Enquiries about the Federal Courts Self-Represented Litigants Service can also be made through the Infoline.

 

Reviewed: 28 February 2019

Need help?

The InfoLine can give information about the law and our services to help with your legal problem.

Disclaimer

The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.