A group of local lawyers have put their heads together to help people faced with coming to the Wollongong court who don’t have a lawyer and cant qualify for Legal Aid.
At Wollongong Court House, most new criminal matters are listed in a call-over list on Tuesday mornings (starting at 9.30). The list is where people often find themselves when they first come to court, frequently without any idea what is going on or what they are supposed to do next.
On Thursdays, the Apprehended Violence Order List sits in Court Five at Wollongong from about 10 AM and this is where people will find themselves if they have an AVO being taken out against them.
These days can be confusing and difficult and often people who are unrepresented can be in need of some guidance and help.
From the start of April 2013 there will be a Duty List Solicitor there, from the local private legal profession, to provide simple advice and pointers on what your options are and what to do next. It’s all pro-bono (meaning it’s free).
This is service is run by private practitioners who are helping the Court by providing advice to defendants and accused people who are appearing for themselves and require some pointers. Based on similar initiatives at the Sydney Downing Centre Local Court and elsewhere in the state, this is a special contribution made by private lawyers to assist the community.
People will be able to obtain the help of a Duty List Pro-Bono Solicitor on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9.30 AM until approximately 11.30 AM. Where a person is unrepresented the Magistrate may refer that person to the Duty List Pro-Bono Solicitor for some advice before proceeding to deal with the matter.
Local Law Firms who are participating in this scheme are: