Community, Compassion, Justice
Community legal centres (CLCs) are independent, community organisations that provide free legal services to the public.
Some community legal centres also offer specialist legal services in areas such as child support, credit and debt, environmental law, welfare rights, mental health, disability discrimination, tenancy, immigration, employment, the arts, etc. Some CLCs provide targeted services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, children and young people, women, older people, refugees, prisoners, the homeless, and other groups.
There are around 200 community legal centres. About 20 centres receive no or very little funding and are staffed entirely by volunteers. All other centres receive funds from a variety of sources including state and federal governments and philanthropic organisations.
Community legal centres are located throughout Australia in urban, regional and remote locations. They are part of their communities and they respond to their communities.
Community legal centres are able to offer effective and creative solutions to legal problems based on their experience within their community. It is the community relationship that makes community legal centres vital organisations able to respond to the needs of their community as these needs arise and change. It is the relationship with their community that distinguishes CLCs from other legal services.
While providing legal services to individuals, CLCs also work beyond the individual. Community legal centres undertake community development, community legal education and law reform projects that are based on client need, that are preventative in outcome and that strengthen the community they serve.
The clients of community legal centres are those who face economic, social or cultural disadvantage and whose life circumstances are often affected entirely by their legal problem.
Community legal centres harness the energy and expertise of thousands of volunteers across the country. Centres are committed to collaboration with government, legal aid, the private legal profession and community partners to ensure the best outcomes for their clients and the system of justice in Australia.
Community legal centres are about Justice and not simply the Law.