Victoria Legal Aid

Help at court

Our duty lawyers can help you at courts and tribunals across Victoria.

Do you have a criminal charge? If your court date is more than 14 days away, you can request help before court.

We have lawyers on ‘duty’ at many courts and tribunals across Victoria. Our duty lawyers can help if you are at court for a hearing, but do not have a lawyer. Where you can find our duty lawyers.

This is a free service, but not everyone is eligible. The service may also not be available every day. It's best to speak to us before you go to court.

Call us on 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 6 pm.

Who can see a duty lawyer at court

Duty lawyers help people who:

  • can’t afford a private lawyer
  • are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
  • have a cognitive disability, an acquired brain injury or mental illness
  • are in a psychiatric in-patient unit with a Mental Health Tribunal hearing
  • are experiencing or at risk of homelessness
  • are a child or young peorson going to the Children’s Court
  • can’t speak, read or write well in English
  • are at court for a family violence matter or are at risk of family violence
  • are in custody or facing a serious penalty.

A serious penalty is where there is a real risk that a person will:

  • go to jail
  • be put on a community corrections order
  • get a substantial fine.

The penalty can depend on your criminal record.

How our duty lawyers can help you

Depending on your circumstances, we may be able to:

  • give you information – for some matters we can provide printed information about specific offences and what happens in court
  • give you legal advice – about the law and what happens in court. This may include negotiations with the prosecution
  • represent you in court that day
  • arrange for a legal aid lawyer to run your case – we may be able to adjourn your court hearing so that you can get a lawyer to run your case.

If you are an adult at the Magistrates' Court for a criminal matter, getting advice or representation will depend on your income.

Children’s Court

At the Children’s Court, we can help you with:

  • criminal law matters
  • child protection applications
  • family violence and personal safety intervention orders.

Magistrates’ Court

At the Magistrates’ Court, we can help you with:

  • adult criminal law matters
  • serious traffic matters
  • family violence matters and intervention orders
  • some infringement matters (if you have special circumstances).

Mental Health Tribunal

At the Mental Health Tribunal (the in-patient units where the hearings are held), we can help you with compulsory involuntary treatment orders.

Federal Circuit and Family Court

We can help you with:

  • family law matters
  • child support
  • some immigration matters.

Our Family Advocacy and Support Services are now also available at the Melbourne and Dandenong Family Law Registries.

This new and enhanced service combines specialist legal advice, risk screening, safety planning, social support and referrals for people who have experienced, used or are alleged to have used family violence.

Read about our Family Advocacy and Support Services.

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal

At the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal we can help you with:

  • guardianship and administration matters
  • residential tenancy matters (tenants only)
  • anti-discrimination matters
  • some civil claims matters.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal

At the Administrative Appeals Tribunal we can help you with:

  • Veterans' Affairs matters
  • social security matters
  • some immigration matters.

How to see a duty lawyer

Before you go to court, contact us to find out if you can see a duty lawyer or how we can help you with your legal problem.

If a duty lawyer can see you, it is best to turn up at the court or tribunal when it opens, as it may be busy and you may have to wait.

When you get to court, ask the court staff if there is a lawyer on duty. If there is, the court staff can tell you what you need to do to see the lawyer.

If you need an interpreter, the court will organise one for you. It is best to let the court know you need an interpreter before your hearing. If you haven’t done this, tell the court staff as soon as you get to court.

Preparing to go to court

To help you understand your legal options it is best to get legal advice before going to court.

Before going to court you should also:

  • collect and bring the paperwork you have about your matter – for example, your charge and summons, police brief, court documents, letters or fines, character references, medical reports
  • let the court know if you need an interpreter or other assistance
  • ask a friend or family member to go with you for support if you want.

Plan to keep the whole day free. Even if your case is listed at 9.30 am, you may have to wait a few hours.

Also plan how you are getting to court. Parking near courts can be expensive. It might be better to use public transport or get someone to drop you off.

You should not drive to court if you are facing charges where you might lose your licence. If you are found guilty, your licence may be cancelled immediately. For more information, read Possible outcomes for traffic offences.

A map of our duty lawyer locations

View our Duty Lawyer Service locations in a large mapExternal Link or see our list of regional locations.

Map icon for our Duty Lawyer Service locations

A list of our duty lawyer locations

Eastern metropolitan region

Ringwood Children's and Magistrates' courts

39 Ringwood Street
RINGWOOD VIC 3134
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Northern and Western metropolitan region

Broadmeadows Children's and Magistrates' courts

Corner Pearcedale Parade and Dimboola Road
BROADMEADOWS VIC 3047
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Koori Court Broadmeadows

Corner Pearcedale Parade and Dimboola Road
BROADMEADOWS VIC 3047
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Neighbourhood Justice Centre

Level 2, 241 Wellington Street
COLLINGWOOD VIC 3066
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Heidelberg Children's and Magistrates' courts

Jika Street
HEIDELBERG VIC 3084
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Melbourne Children's Court

477 Little Lonsdale Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000
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Melbourne Magistrates' Court

233 William Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000
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VCAT

55 King Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000
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Family Court of Australia – Melbourne

Owen Dixon Commonwealth Law Courts Building
305 William Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000
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Federal Circuit Court – Melbourne

Owen Dixon Commonwealth Law Courts Building
305 William Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000
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State Coroner's Office of Victoria

57–83 Kavanagh Street
SOUTHBANK VIC 3006
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Sunshine Children's and Magistrates' courts

10 Foundry Road
SUNSHINE VIC 3020
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Werribee Children's and Magistrates' courts

Corner Duncans Road and Salisbury Street
WERRIBEE VIC 3030
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Southern metropolitan region

Dandenong Children’s and Magistrates' courts

Corner Foster and Pultney streets
DANDENONG, VIC 3175
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Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia – Dandenong

55 Robinson Street
DANDENONG VIC 3175
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Dromana Magistrates' Court

Codrington Street
DROMANA VIC 3936
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Frankston Children's and Magistrates' courts

15 Fletcher Road
FRANKSTON VIC 3199
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Moorabbin Justice Centre

1140 Nepean Highway
HIGHETT VIC 3190
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Barwon–South Western region

Colac Children's and Magistrates' courts

Queen Street
COLAC VIC 3250
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Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia – Geelong

Railway Terrace
GEELONG VIC 3220
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Geelong Children's and Magistrates' courts

Railway Terrace
GEELONG VIC 3220
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Hamilton Children's and Magistrates' courts

Martin Street
HAMILTON VIC 3300
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Portland Children's and Magistrates' courts

67 Cliff Street
PORTLAND VIC 3305
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Warrnambool Children's and Magistrates' courts

218 Koroit Street
WARRNAMBOOL VIC 3280
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Federal Circuit Court – Warrnambool

218 Koroit Street
WARRNAMBOOL VIC 3280
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Gippsland region

Bairnsdale Children's, County and Magistrates' courts

Nicholson Street
BAIRNSDALE VIC 3875
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Korumburra Magistrates' Court

Bridge Street
KORUMBURRA VIC 3950
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Latrobe Valley (Morwell) Children's, County and Magistrates' courts

Latrobe Valley Law Courts
134 Commercial Road
MORWELL VIC 3840
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Omeo Children's and Magistrates' courts

Shire Office, Main Street
OMEO VIC 3898
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Orbost Magistrates' Court

Corner Wolseley and Browning streets
ORBOST VIC 3888
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Sale Children's, County and Magistrates' courts

Foster Street (Princess Highway)
SALE VIC 3850
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Wonthaggi Magistrates' Court

Watt Street
WONTHAGGI VIC 3995
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Grampians region

Ararat Children's and Magistrates' courts

Corner Barkly and Ingor streets
ARARAT VIC 3377
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Bacchus Marsh Children's and Magistrates' courts

121 Main Street
BACCHUS MARSH VIC 3340
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Edenhope Magistrates' Court

Shire Offices, West Wimmera Shire Council
49 Elizabeth Street
EDENHOPE VIC 3318
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Hopetoun Children's and Magistrates' courts

Shire Offices, Shire of Karkarooc
75 Lascelles Street
HOPETOUN VIC 3396
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Ballarat Children's and Magistrates' courts

100 Grenville Street
SOUTH BALLARAT VIC 3350
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Horsham Children's and Magistrates' courts

Roberts Avenue
HORSHAM VIC 3400
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Nhill Children's and Magistrates' courts

110 MacPherson Street
NHILL VIC 3418
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Stawell Children's and Magistrates' courts

Patrick Street
STAWELL VIC 3380
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St Arnaud Children's and Magistrates' courts

Napier Street
ST ARNAUD VIC 3478
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Maryborough Children's and Magistrates' courts

Clarendon Street
MARYBOROUGH VIC 3467
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hume region

Benalla Children's and Magistrates' courts

Bridge Street
BENALLA VIC 3672
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Cobram Children's and Magistrates' courts

Corner Punt Road and High Street
COBRAM VIC 3644
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Corryong Children's and Magistrates' courts

Jardine Street
CORRYONG VIC 3707
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Mansfield Children's and Magistrates' courts

Corner High and Highett streets
MANSFIELD VIC 3722
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Shepparton Children's and Magistrates' courts

High Street
SHEPPARTON VIC 3630
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Wangaratta Children's and Magistrates' courts

Faithfull Street
WANGARATTA VIC 3677
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Wodonga Children's and Magistrates' courts

5 Elgin Boulevard
WODONGA VIC 3690
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Myrtleford Children's and Magistrates' courts

Myrtle Street
MYRTLEFORD VIC 3737
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Seymour Children's and Magistrates' courts

Tallarook Street
SEYMOUR VIC 3660
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Loddon Mallee region

Bendigo Children's and Magistrates' courts

71 Pall Mall
BENDIGO VIC 3550
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Castlemaine Magistrates' Court

Lyttleton Street
CASTLEMAINE VIC 3450
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Echuca Children's and Magistrates' courts

Heygarth Street
ECHUCA VIC 3564
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Federal Circuit Court – Bendigo

71 Pall Mall
BENDIGO VIC 3550
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Kerang Children's and Magistrates' courts

Victoria Street
KERANG VIC 3579
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Kyneton Children's and Magistrates' courts

Hutton Street
KYNETON VIC 3444
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Mildura Magistrates' Court

56 Deakin Avenue
MILDURA VIC 3500
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Ouyen Children’s and Magistrates’ courts

Shire Offices
Oke Street
OUYEN VIC 3490
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Robinvale Magistrates' Court

George Street
ROBINVALE VIC 3549
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Swan Hill Children's and Magistrates' courts

Curlewis Street
SWAN HILL VIC 3585
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Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

We help Victorians with their legal problems and represent those who need it most. Find legal answers, chat with us online, or call us. You can speak to us in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also find more legal information at www.legalaid.vic.gov.au

Reviewed 29 January 2023

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