LawHelp

What is LawHelp and who can use the service?

LawHelp makes free legal help available to any:

  • entity registering with, or transferring its incorporation to, the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act) or
  • not-for-profit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation already registered under the CATSI Act.

What can LawHelp help with?

If you are registering with, or transferring your incorporation to the CATSI Act, you can apply for help with:

  • drafting of complex rule book provisions
  • taxation consequences of transferring
  • amendments to contracts
  • change of registered legal name of assets—for example, land and vehicles
  • interpreting the provisions of the state or territory legislation under which the entity is registered or incorporated
  • drafting of meeting notices or advice to members and employees about the transfer process.

Not-for-profit corporations already registered under the CATSI Act can seek help with:

  • interpreting the law
  • contracts—drafting, negotiation and management
  • employment issues—such as employment contracts, workers’ compensation law, occupational health and safety obligations and how to apply employment legislation, for example, the Fair Work Act 2009
  • basic tax issues—such as registering for an ABN and for GST, FBT and PAYG withholding, and assessing whether a corporation should apply for concessional income tax, FBT and/or GST treatment
  • how to comply with laws applying to the corporation, identify and manage legal risks and develop appropriate disclaimers (including for websites, buildings and publications)
  • consumer protection and trade practices issues
  • legal issues relating to information and communication technology
  • intellectual property arrangements—such as copyright and moral rights protection and infringement, registration and maintenance of trade marks, business names and domain names, and the commercialisation of a corporation’s intellectual property rights
  • real estate / property matters—such as buying, selling, constructing or leasing premises, licences, easements and other planning issues.

What is beyond the scope of LawHelp?

LawHelp cannot help your corporation with:

  • native title—the Commonwealth provides help for people with native title claims through funded native title representative bodies (NTRBs) and native title service providers (NTSPs)
  • legal action in any court or tribunal
  • any matter that potentially conflicts with the Australian Government's or any of its agencies’ interests—such as Commonwealth funding agreements, Indigenous land use agreements, township leases or other contractual arrangements, or any dispute that involves the Australian Government or any of its agencies.

Sometimes a LawHelp lawyer will be unable to give advice because of a conflict of interest or other issue.

Does the assessment panel have any discretion?

In exceptional circumstances, LawHelp’s assessment panel can still approve an application for legal help if it is not within the guidelines. All decisions by the assessment panel are final.

Who provides the legal help?

The following lawyers and law firms contribute their time and expertise free of charge:

The Registrar welcomes lawyers and law firms who wish to participate in LawHelp and contribute their time and expertise for the benefit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations. If you or your firm would like more information about becoming involved with LawHelp, please contact the LawHelp secretariat on freecall 1800 622 431 (not free from mobiles) or email LawHelp@oric.gov.au.

What's the process for applying?

Find out about the process of applying for legal assistance.

Who's on the assessment panel?

Read about each member of the assessment panel.

Other legal services

Other organisations might be able to provide legal assistance to your entity. The Australian Pro Bono Centre lists all Australian state and territory organisations that provide pro bono help.

Who can I contact if I have any questions?

Contact the LawHelp secretariat on freecall 1800 622 431 (not free from mobiles) or email LawHelp@oric.gov.au.

Acknowledgment

The Registrar acknowledges the Australian Government Solicitor for assistance in establishing LawHelp and as the founding legal services provider under this service.