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Overview of Community Legal Centres

Updated: Jun 13, 2023




Community legal centres (CLCs) are independent, not-for-profit, community-based organisations that provide a range of services to everyday people, including people experiencing discrimination and disadvantage. We assist communities across Australia.


Each year CLCs help hundreds of thousands of people through providing a range of services for individual people as well as more broadly for the community. CLCs provide a range of legal services as well as undertaking early intervention and preventative strategies such as community legal education, community development and individual skill building. CLCs also play a key role in community engagement, advocacy and law and policy reform.


More broadly, CLCs work to develop and facilitate partnerships between legal assistance providers and legal and non-legal services (e. g. domestic violence organisations, community health organisations, housing services and drug and alcohol services). This allows the CLCs to provide holistic help to people and is designed to avoid escalation of legal problems. CLCs provide services in offices, communities and health care settings across Australia.


CLCs also work together in national networks to share information and good practice, and undertake policy and advocacy work.


Services that CLCs offer can include:

  • Information and advice

  • Referrals

  • Casework and minor assistance

  • Representation and advocacy

  • Duty lawyer services

  • Community legal education

  • Non-legal support

  • Policy and law reform

Each community legal centre may offer different services, depending on the needs of their community.


There are three main types of community legal centres:

  1. Generalist CLCs - Generalists centres operate across a broad range of legal areas to particular geographic community.

  2. Specialist Community CLCs - Specialist centres provide services to a particular community, such as women, people with disabilities, children and young people, people with HIV/AIDS and the aged.

  3. Specialist law CLCs - Specialist law centres provide services in particular areas of law such as tenancy, consumer credit, environmental law, disability discrimination, welfare rights and immigration law.


Many generalist centres incorporate specialist programs and projects into their operations.

CLCs adopt a multi-disciplinary, holistic approach to the clients, whose needs may or may not be primarily legal. Many CLCs employ social workers, tenancy workers, domestic violence workers and community legal educators in offering a broad range of preventative legal services, such as community legal education and the development and provision of information.


For example, many CLCs train community and social workers in other government and community agencies in legal issues, which are pertinent to their clients. CLCs produce a wide range of community legal education materials such a books leaflets, information and teaching kits, and audio and video programs. They have proven over time to be prolific publishers of plain English information about the law; sometimes independently, sometimes in conjunction with commercial publishers, including the major publishing houses.


For further information on CLCs, contact:


Community Legal WA

Registered Office

Claisebrook Lotteries House 33 Moore Street East Perth WA 6004


Connect with Community Legal WA on





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