How we can help
Justice Connect is committed to providing access to justice through pro bono legal service for people experiencing disadvantage. Our Self Representation Service operates to address the challenges faced by unrepresented litigants in the Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court.
Justice Connect is independent of government and the courts.
Aims of the Self Representation Service
The Service's objective is to ensure that unrepresented parties understand their rights and responsibilities and are empowered to take the best course of action to present their case and resolve their disputes.
Specifically, the Service aims to help unrepresented individuals to:
- understand the law
- observe court rules and procedures
- prepare documentation necessary to pursue or respond to legal proceedings
- be aware of potential orders and the effect of not complying with orders
- present their case in the best possible manner, and
- resolve disputes in the most efficient and favourable way.
Who it’s for
We provide free assistance to individuals who:
- are involved in, or are considering commencing, bankruptcy, Fair Work, human rights/discrimination or judicial review proceedings in the Federal Court or Federal Circuit Court
- have a legal issue that we have expertise in
- are not represented
- are unable to afford private legal assistance, and
- are ineligible for legal aid.
We assist with matters in the Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court Civil Registries in Victoria, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania. We currently assist in bankruptcy and fair work proceedings.
How it works
People eligible for assistance will have a one hour appointment with one of a team of volunteer lawyers provided by Justice Connect supporting firms.
The appointment will be at the Federal Court in Sydney or Melbourne or via phone or video conferencing. The appointment may include:
- legal advice about the issue at court
- assistance in preparing documents, including correspondence and court forms
- advice about other options to resolve the issue
- information about court orders and procedures.
Depending on the nature of the matter and the circumstances, eligible people may be offered more than one appointment to support them throughout their case. The Service provides task-orientated assistance in preparation for court; it does not provide legal representation.
How to apply for assistance
Unrepresented people are encouraged to phone the Service on 1800 727 550 (alternatively you can call (02) 8599 2102 or (03) 8636 4440). to discuss their assistance requirements and to find out whether the Service is likely to be able to support them. Applicants can also email us at email@example.com (for those in NSW or the ACT) and at firstname.lastname@example.org (for those in Vic or Tas). Individuals can also visit us in person during Service operating times (Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 9:30am and 4:30pm) at our offices in the Federal Court:
- Sydney: Level 19, Law Courts Building, Queens Square
- Melbourne: Level 8, Owen Dixon Commonwealth Law Courts Building, William Street
The Service will contact those who are eligible for assistance and offer them an appointment to meet with a lawyer at the Court. Phone or video conferencing appointments will be provided to those who cannot attend in person.
The Service also accepts referrals from other legal services and caseworkers.