Apply for legal help
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1. Terms and Conditions
Please read and accept the following Terms and Conditions before proceeding (scroll down to see full terms and conditions)
- Pro Bono Legal Assistance
- JusticeNet SA ("JusticeNet") is an independent, not-for-profit legal service that provides free legal help to individuals and charitable organisations in South Australia. JusticeNet’s Pro Bono Connect provides a legal referral service for low-income and disadvantaged South Australians experiencing civil law issues, as well as charitable and community groups.
- By completing this form, you are applying to JusticeNet's Pro Bono Connect.
- Due to our limited resources, we cannot provide pro bono legal assistance in all areas of law. Please see our website for an explanation of the scope of our service: https://justicenet.org.au/what-we-do/pro-bono-connect.
- JusticeNet provides pro bono assistance on a discretionary basis and there is no automatic right to assistance. Although we would like to assist every eligible applicant we are not in a position to do so as the demand for pro bono legal assistance far exceeds its availability.
- The legal assistance arranged by JusticeNet ranges from providing representation in court to providing discrete assistance and/or advice. In some cases, the assistance JusticeNet is able to arrange may be limited in scope and you may not be eligible for the assistance requested in your application.
- Important: Pro Bono Connect itself does not provide legal advice or perform any type of legal work on your behalf. Pro Bono Connect staff do not act as your lawyer.
- Eligibility for pro bono legal assistance
- Pro Bono Connect is only able to refer eligible applications for pro bono legal assistance. You may be eligible if you meet the following criteria:
- you (or your organisation) are based in South Australia; and
- you are unable to afford essential legal services without undue hardship; and
- you are an individual or a not-for-profit organisation whose purpose(s) is primarily charitable; and
- you have a problem requiring a legal remedy for which:
- there are reasonable prospects of a successful outcome; and
- you would suffer significant injustice if not legally represented; or
- your matter concerns an issue of public interest; and
- you are unable to obtain the requisite services from an alternative legal services provider, particularly the Legal Services Commission, a community legal centre or the Litigation Assistance Fund / Disbursements Only Fund; and
- you are unable to pay for private legal representation; and
- the matter is of such a nature that you could not reasonably be expected to self-represent; and
- JusticeNet considers in all the circumstances that the matter would be an appropriate use of available pro bono legal resources.
- JusticeNet, in its absolute discretion, may also provide assistance in exceptional circumstances to applicants who do not meet the above criteria.
- Application process
- JusticeNet aims to acknowledge receipt of your application within 5 days of lodgement of your application form.
- Once we have received your application we will assess it against our eligibility criteria. We may need you to provide us with further information or documents before we can finalise our assessment. If you do not provide further information that is reasonably requested by us, then we may find that you are ineligible for assistance.
- Please note that due our limited resources the assessment process can take up to 4 weeks or more. We are unable to expedite applications for assistance.
- If you inform us in your application of a court date or other important deadline that is less than 4 weeks from the date we received your application, we will endeavour to contact you before that date to discuss your options, but we will not be able to provide representation at that time. You will therefore need to make other arrangements as necessary.
- Important: Pro Bono Connect takes no responsibility for any court dates, time constraints, deadlines or limitation periods which may apply to your matter.
- At all times during the assessment process, you must notify JusticeNet immediately if:
- There is any change in your financial circumstances;
- Your change contact details (including phone number, postal address, home address or email)
- There is new information, issues or matters which might affect your case.
- If we determine that you are eligible:
- We will endeavour to refer your matter to a lawyer for pro bono assistance, and notify you in writing of the outcome. Please note that the referral process may take 2 weeks or longer.
- In rare cases, we are unable to refer matters that are approved for assistance. Although we would like to assist every eligible applicant, we are not in a position to do so because the demand for pro bono legal assistance exceeds its availability.
- If your application is unsuccessful, or if we are unable to refer your matter, we will notify you and suggest other services which may be able to assist you.
- If you disagree with our decision, or wish to make a complaint about our service, we ask that you to contact us in writing.
- Confidentiality and Privacy
- All information provided by you to JusticeNet will be kept confidential, subject to such disclosure as may be necessary for the purposes of assessing and referring your matter to a lawyer.
- In applying to JusticeNet you consent and authorise us to do the following:
- request, transfer and receive personal or financial information or documentation in relation to you for the purposes of assessing your eligibility for assistance, providing assistance and obtaining feedback about the progress or outcome of a legal matter for which you have been referred for legal assistance, without waiving legal professional privilege;
- discuss your case with, and disclose any personal or financial information or documentation to any lawyer, barrister or organisation for the purpose of assessing your eligibility for assistance and providing assistance; and
- use your personal information anonymously to compile statistical data for the purpose of evaluating JusticeNet services.
- In addition, where JusticeNet obtains information or documents from the Legal Services Commission of South Australia (LSC), in accordance with 31A of the Legal Services Commission Act 1977, you consent for the LSC to share those documents and information with JusticeNet for the purposes of your application to JusticeNet.
- JusticeNet SA may be asked by other parties with an interest in your matter to make a referral. JusticeNet SA has put in place procedures to protect client confidentiality and to prevent any conflict of interest by ensuring that materials provided by different parties to the same issue or dispute are considered by different assessors and are stored separately, so that there is no possibility of any intermingling of information.
- Referred matters
- Once we refer you to a pro bono lawyer, the matter is then between you and the lawyer and you will become a client of the firm once you have entered into a solicitor/client agreement with it. You will not be a client of JusticeNet.
- Once a matter is referred, JusticeNet’s role will solely be that of monitoring the progress of your matter to ensure that our referral service is operating effectively.
- JusticeNet can accept no duty or liability to you in relation to the referral and the assistance provided by your pro bono lawyer.
- At any stage during or after a referral, JusticeNet may use information about your matter for reporting purposes, but no report will identify you unless we first obtain your specific written approval or unless it has already appeared in a privileged report.
- The assessment of your application by JusticeNet is free.
- If successful, JusticeNet will refer your matter to a lawyer on a pro bono basis, that is, you will not be required to pay any fees for legal services provided.
- In some cases your lawyer may reserve the right to charge you fees in certain circumstances. This can only occur by agreement between you and your lawyer. The agreement should be in writing and signed by both you and the lawyer
- no fee, regardless of the outcome of the case;
- reduced fee basis; or
- conditional basis, where you pay the lawyer an agreed fee if you are successful and the other party is ordered by a court or tribunal to pay legal costs.
- Usually you are responsible for any out-of-pocket expenses (disbursements) that arise during your matter. These expenses include filing fees for documents, court or tribunal daily sitting fees, interpreters’ fees, experts’ fees, cost of transcripts and travel expenses. These costs are your responsibility and are not covered by JusticeNet or your lawyer.
- If your matter is in a Court or Tribunal and you lose your case, the Court or Tribunal may order that you pay the other party’s legal costs. These costs are your responsibility and are not covered by JusticeNet or your lawyer.
- Suspension/early cessation of an assessment or referral
- JusticeNet may cease or suspend our assessment of your application and/or a referral to a lawyer in the following circumstances:
- Where you ask us to do so;
- Where we have identified a conflict of interest which prevents JusticeNet from assisting you further;
- Where we determine that the information that you have provided to us is false, misleading or incomplete;
- If there is any material change in the matter referred, or any alteration of your circumstances which takes your matter outside our guidelines and eligibility criteria;
- You refuse to accept the reasonable advice of JusticeNet or your pro bono lawyer; and
- In any other circumstances at JusticeNet’s absolute discretion.
- File closure
- After your file is closed it will be held for 7 years after which time it will be destroyed.
By proceeding with this form you acknowledge and accept the terms and conditions stated herein.
By proceeding with this form you acknowledge and accept the terms and conditions stated above.