Where to get legal advice about police behaviour?
Community legal centres - general
1) Your local community legal centre may be able to provide free advice in relation to police complaints and discrimination matters.
Click here to find a legal centre near you.
3) Legal Aid NSW provides legal advice and assistance to people who have a complaint about the way they have been treated by police. Free legal advice is available at a number of civil advice clinics around Sydney and New South Wales. To find your nearest Civil advice clinic, call Law Access on 1300 888 529 or visit our website at www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au.
Other free legal options for specific groups of people
Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander people
1) The Indigenous Justice Program and its Policing and Indigenous communities project, is part of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC). The lawyers here can give you advice about police behaviour, and also about discrimination.
Contact PIAC on (02) 8898 6500
2) If the Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) is assisting you in relation to a criminal charge and you feel that the police did something wrong, make sure you discuss this with your ALS solicitor. It may be relevant to defending the charge against you, and the ALS solicitor can give you advice about the best timing and process if you want to make a complaint.
Contact the ALS on: (02) 8303 6600
1) The Children in Detention Advocacy Project (CidNAP) provides free legal advice and representation to young people under 21, if the young person has been subject to false arrest, unlawful detention, malicious prosecution and/or the use of excessive force by police, transit authorities and private security companies.
CIDnAP is a joint project run by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and Legal Aid NSW.
For general information about CIDnAP, contact Laura Brown, Solicitor at PIAC.
2) Marrickville Legal Centre runs a Children’s Legal Service with a Children’s solicitor for people under 18 in NSW. Contact Marrickville Legal Centre on (02) 9559 2899.
3) National Children’s Youth Law Centre is a legal service for children, young people and their advocates. The Centre provides free, written legal advice through its email legal advice service Lawmail. Click on this link to send a Lawmail to the Centre.
4) Shopfront Youth Legal Centre provides legal services for homeless and disadvantaged young people aged 25 and under.
Contact Shopfront on (02)9322 4808.
5) Legal Aid NSW provides advice and assistance to young people who have a complaint about the way they have been treated by police. In particular assistance is available in relation to unlawful arrests, unlawful searches, bail conditions and false imprisonment if you are a young person.
If your concern relates to how police responded to domestic violence, and you are a woman, you can ask Women’s Legal Services NSW for advice and assistance on:
Domestic Violence Legal Advice Line
Phone advice: 02 8745 6999; or Toll free: 1800 810 784
Indigenous Women's Legal Contact Line
Phone advice: 02 8745 6977; or Toll free: 1800 639 784
The times for the above phone services are listed here.
People with an intellectual disability
The Intellectual Disability Rights Service and Criminal Justice Support Network (IDRS) is a legal advocacy service for people with intellectual disability in New South Wales.
Phone advice: (02) 9318 0144; or Toll free: 1800 666 611
Inner-City Legal Centre (ICLC) runs a state-wide specialist legal advice service for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex people, and can provide advice about police behaviour.
Phone to make an appointment: (02) 9332 1966
If you are homeless, or at risk of homelessness
The Homeless Persons’ Legal Service (HPLS) can provide advice and assistance with complaints against police. It also provides legal advice and representation in minor criminal matters, subject to capacity. HPLS is part of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.
Call (02) 8898 6500 or go to one of the clinics around Sydney.
A private solicitor who practices in the area of administrative and government law might be able to provide advice to you in relation to complaints about police and discrimination matters.
The Public Interest Law Clearing House of NSW (PILCH), may be able to find you a free (pro bono) lawyer:
- call PILCH on (02) 9114 1793
- email PILCH on firstname.lastname@example.org
- write to PILCH at GPO Box 863 Sydney NSW 2000, DX 78 Sydney
If you are able to pay for legal advice, you can find a private lawyer via the Law Society of NSW website, or call the Law Society on (02) 9926 0333.