Getting Legal Assistance

Overview of the Process

If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness and require legal assistance from the HPLC, in most cases we will make an appointment for you to meet with a lawyer at one of our outreach locations. 

At this initial meeting, it is important that you provide us with all the information that may be relevant to your legal problem so that the lawyers can make an assessment of your matter based on its legal merit and your eligibility (ie that you are experiencing or at risk of homelessness).

It may be that the advice you need can be provided in that first session. If your matter requires more than one-off advice, your HPLC lawyers will provide ongoing legal advice for free. If we are unable to assist you because, for example, you have come to us with a family or immigration law issue, or because you do not meet the eligibility criteria, we will do our best to refer you to another legal service provider. 

Confidentiality

All information in documents and discussions with the HPLC and HPLC lawyers will remain confidential.  However, information about your legal problem may be passed between the HPLC lawyers helping you. The HPLC may discuss your case generally in its newsletters or in press releases about the case but in a way that preserves your confidentiality. If you have any objection or concerns about this, please mention it to HPLC staff and lawyers. 

Complaints

If you have a complaint about the service provided by the HPLC, please contact the PILCH Executive Director and make sure he or she are aware of your complaint. If you are unsatisfied with his or her response, you should put your complaint in writing to the President, Public Interest Law Clearing House (Vic) Inc. 

You can also make complaints about the quality of service provided by any lawyer to the Legal Ombudsman. 

Are there any charges for HPLC services?

The HPLC provides services on a pro bono basis.  This means we will not charge you for our legal services, unless you become entitled to your costs from the other side of a legal proceeding.  If this happens, we may seek our costs from you, however, we will not seek to recover any more than the amount to be paid to you by another party for your costs. 

If you matter involves legal proceedings and you are unsuccessful in the proceeding, the Court may award legal costs against you. You are liable for these costs. 

Please discuss this with your lawyer so that you are clear about any liability for costs.

Disbursements

You may be asked to contribute to disbursements. Disbursements are out of pocket expenses such as court and tribunal fees or interpreters’ fees. However, we will consult you before incurring any disbursements for which you are liable. In some cases it is possible to obtain waivers of these fees from the court. This is something you should discuss with your lawyer. 

HPLC Clinic Times and Locations

Content last updated: 16/09/08