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Two million NSW residents get free legal help

Issued: Monday, 1 September 2014
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The State Government’s free legal information service LawAccess NSW has reached a new milestone answering two million calls since it began operating in September 2001.

Attorney General Brad Hazzard said LawAccess assisted a record 205,613 callers in 2013/14 – an increase of almost 5% on the previous year.

“This is about giving the community easy access to the justice system – LawAccess is available to every person in NSW,” Mr Hazzard said.

“The service - which is particularly focused on helping those in rural and isolated areas, indigenous people, people with disabilities and those from culturally and linguistically diverse background - has received overwhelmingly positive feedback with over 95% of users reporting they are highly satisfied with the service.”

The most common enquiries relate to family law child arrangements, debt, domestic violence, neighbourhood disputes, wills and divorce and approximately 60% of customers seeking legal advice are from outside the Sydney area.

While most enquiries are straight forward requests for information, LawAccess lawyers have conducted more than 200,000 legal advice sessions since the service was established 13 years ago.

In 2010, the service launched LawAssist, a website designed specifically to assist people who are representing themselves in courts and tribunals. Over the past four years, more than 1.2 million people have visited the site.

LawAccess and LawAssist are both accessible by telephone on 1300 888 529 or online at www.lawaccess.nsw.gov.au

LawAssist videos are also available through the recently launched Legal Aid NSW app.

People from culturally and linguistically diverse communities can contact the LawAccess telephone interpreter service on 131 450.

LawAccess is a partnership between the Department of Justice, Legal Aid NSW, Law Society of NSW and the NSW Bar Association.

“The Australian Productivity Commission has recognised the outstanding work being carried out by LawAccess in its draft report on access to justice and has recommended that other states and territories adopt a similar model,” Mr Hazzard said.