Legal Aid Queensland is a statutory authority funded and established by the Queensland Government to provide assistance in relation to certain criminal, family and civil law matters. Primarily, the organisation provides financially and socially disadvantaged people access to legal representation, legal aid and other legal services.
These services include:
- Online legal information
- Legal advice and representation – if eligibility criteria is met
- Help in court – by a duty lawyer or a lawyer who is running your case
- Lawyer assisted dispute resolution in family law matters
- Referrals to other organisations who may provide further assistance
When should I seek legal advice for a criminal matter?
If you have been charged with criminal offence, it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice. Specifically, you should seek legal advice if you have been charged and are required to attend court or, alternatively, if you have missed your court date and you think there may have been a warrant issued for your arrest.
Legal Aid Queensland may be able to provide free legal advice if you have been charged with an offence. If appropriate, Legal Aid Queensland will provide legal information and can arrange an appointment with a lawyer who is a Legal Aid preferred supplier.
A lawyer funded by Legal Aid can:
- Explain what your offence means
- Provide valuable information and advice
- Assistance in your decision as to whether to plead guilty or not guilty
- Explain what your penalty might be
- Explain the court process
If you are charged with an offence, it is recommended that you also obtain a copy of your QP9 before contacting Legal Aid Queensland. A QP9 is a written summary of the police version of why you were charged and what happened.
Can a lawyer represent me through Legal Aid Queensland?
In order for a lawyer to represent you through Legal Aid Queensland, you must apply for a grant of legal aid. To get a grant of legal aid you must be financially eligible under a means test, meet requirements in a merits test and have a legal problem that meets certain guidelines.
The means test will apply to the income and assets of an applicant and anyone who gives the applicant financial support. It is in place to determine whether the applicant is eligible for legal aid or whether they are entitled be given legal aid without contribution.
You can apply for a grant of legal aid directly through Legal Aid Queensland or through a preferred supplier who assists with legal aid work, such as Geldard Sherrington Lawyers. Call our friendly team on (07) 4194 5422 if you are in need of legal advice or are seeking assistance through Legal Aid.