Essendon Community Legal Centre
The Centre's paid staff and volunteers provide legal advice and community information.
Clients attending the drop-in services are provided with generalised legal advice or referral on most matters, however casework is generally not undertaken. Assistance with basic forms, documents and letters may be provided.
Clients attending appointments may have casework performed on their behalf by an ECLC lawyer, however the extent of this will necessarily be limited. We may undertake most Magistrates’ Court criminal matters, however more serious or time-consuming matters may be referred out or staff can assist with an application for Legal Aid.
Our lawyers are specifically experienced in family law matters, intervention orders, fines, minor criminal and neighbourhood disputes. Varying forms of assistance are available for clients attending appointments, depending on the precise nature of the matter and the current caseload of the attending lawyer. Specialised matters such as wills, probate, power of attorney, employment, immigration and some others are referred out beyond basic advice and assistance with forms.
Clients are encouraged to attend the Centre for generalised legal advice in all areas to ‘point them in the right direction’, or to obtain initial consultation and assistance or appropriate referral information.
Legal advice on Monday nights is provided by qualified legal practitioners, who volunteer their time to the Centre. The Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday legal advice sessions are attended by qualified legal practitioners.
The attending lawyer may choose to provide advice on the spot, assist with the preparation of documentation and/or letters, or refer the client to a private practitioner or another legal service. In some instances staff lawyers will be able to take on the client’s case, and in others funding from Legal Aid may be arranged. The course of action will be at the lawyer’s discretion.
Non-legal volunteers manage the reception area, sit in on client interviews, assist the lawyers as required, provide back-office support, and generally help with the administration of the service.
Unfortunately we are unable to provide legal advice by email or over the telephone.
Who Can Use the Service
The Centre was established primarily to provide legal services to people who live, work or recreate in the wider community of Moonee Valley, and so priority will be given to these people.
All services are free, regardless of the type of problem, although if clients have resources to fund private representation, they may be referred out. In cases of conflict of interest we will refer the other party to another centre or service whenever possible.
Quality of Work
The fact that the service is free has no impact on the quality of the service. Accurate and helpful advice and referral services are provided by qualified legal practitioners, and operate in a welcoming, non-judgmental and informal environment.
All clients enjoy complete confidentiality. Discussion outside the Centre of a client’s legal matter undermines this principle and jeopardises the integrity and credibility of the Centre.