Have you ever needed legal advice, but not known where to get it? Or thought it too expensive and not worth the effort? You may have had a legal problem connected to your sexuality or gender identity or been the victim of a hate crime or domestic violence. You may have been discriminated against at work or in other areas of life, or needed advice about a relationship break-up or the decision to have a child. Finding a legal practitioner who understands your circumstances can be daunting, and even a barrier to getting the right advice.
The Inner City Legal Centre (ICLC) provides free legal advice to gay, lesbian and transgender people all over New South Wales. Located in Darlinghurst (although after 27 years on Oxford St it will be moving to Kings Cross in early 2008), the Centre runs a gay, lesbian and transgender legal advice service every Wednesday night with the help of volunteer solicitors and barristers. Advice can be provided in person or by telephone.
For people who need ongoing legal representation, referrals are provided to skilled and sympathetic private solicitors. If you cannot afford a private lawyer, the Centre does take on some cases and can also help to find other pro bono (free) legal representation and advise on eligibility for legal aid.
Recent ICLC cases include acting for a donor dad in a family law matter following the break-up of the relationship between the lesbian parents of the children, acting for a woman of transgender background in an appeal against a refusal to issue her with a passport noting her gender as female, acting for a gay man who was a victim of domestic violence in a claim for victim’s compensation, and acting for gay, lesbian and transgender clients in discrimination complaints against employers, entertainment venues, football clubs and bus companies.
The Centre hopes to run an information forum on parenting issues during Mardi Gras in 2008, as well as having their usual stall at Fair Day. Solicitors from the Centre are also available to speak to large and small groups about legal issues. To make an appointment for legal advice, request a speaker for your group or organisation or to enquire about becoming a volunteer, contact the Centre on 9332 1966. The Centre’s website (www.iclc.org.au) also has a wealth of useful information.
This column is an initiative of the NSW Young Lawyers Human Rights Committee.
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