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The Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania (LACT) was established in Tasmania in 1991 under the Legal Aid Commission Act 1990 (Tas). The governing body of the Commission consists of representatives of the Commonwealth and State Governments, the private legal profession, a person qualified in financial management, community representatives, and the Director of the Commission.

The LACT has its headquarters in Hobart and has three regional offices in Launceston, Burnie and Devonport. These offices provide a number of different services at ‘first contact’ level. These are legal clinics, phone advice and the duty solicitor scheme. 

Eligibility for Legal Aid

To determine eligibility for legal aid, the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania provides guidelines. This lists the various tests under which you can apply for legal aid, including the Forum Test, the Means Test, and Merits Test.

Solicitors representing low income clients can apply for legal aid for the client. You should ask your solicitor if they will work for legal aid funding.

Applying for Legal Aid

Applications can either be made through the Legal Aid centre, or through your lawyer. If you have a private lawyer, and not a legal aid lawyer you should ask whether they will apply for legal aid on your behalf.

Clinic Advice Service

The Hobart Office of the Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania runs a Clinic Advice Service, Monday to Friday from 10.30 am to 2.30 pm. Generally, if a person needs legal advice on a family or criminal matter they may attend clinic, or if they wish to find out if they are eligible for legal aid.

The Launceston Office provides a similar clinic service between 12 noon and 1.00 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays of each week.

The Burnie Office’s clinic service operates between 12:30 pm and 1.30 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The Devonport Office’s clinics operate between 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

This service is available to holders of current Health Care or Pension Cards.

If a person has a civil issue they should contact the telephone advice service.

Telephone Advice Service

Everyone can access free legal advice on the telephone advice service. The Hobart Office provides a dedicated phone advice service between 9 am and 5.00 pm each day on 1300 366 611 for the cost of a local call. 

Civil Cases: Civil Disbursement Fund

Generally, civil litigation will not attract legal aid, however there are exceptions with serious personal injury claims, workers compensation claims and professional negligence claims. This does not mean that other types of civil cases will not be considered. Under the Civil Disbursement Fund, Tasmanians who cannot afford to have their case heard before a Court can apply for funds to help pay up front disbursements, such as filing costs, and reports. If the case is won, the applicant must repay the money with a premium. Applications can be made through a lawyer, so speak to your lawyer about this. 

Duty Solicitor Scheme

The LACT operates a Duty Solicitor Scheme at the Magistrates Court at Hobart, Launceston, Burnie, Devonport, Smithton and Queenstown. There is an office at the Hobart Magistrates Court and the Duty Solicitor is available to undertake bail applications and other immediate assistance. There is also a duty solicitor at the Family Court/Federal Circuit Court to assist people who are involved in family law matters. Work undertaken by the Duty Solicitor is available if you have been arrested and wish to apply for bail, or if you are eligible for a grant of legal aid. 

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