Victoria Legal Aid

Help before court – for criminal charges

If your court date is more than six days away, you may be able to get legal advice from a lawyer to help you prepare.

What is Help Before Court?

If your court date is more than six days away, you may qualify for legal advice from a lawyer to help you prepare for court.

Our Help Before Court service is offered for criminal charges in the Magistrates’ Court or Children’s Court. We can only provide legal advice to those who need it most. This depends on your income and legal matter.

It’s free to request Help Before Court. If your court date is more than six days away, fill out a few simple details using our online toolExternal Link .

If we cannot provide legal advice, you can still access our online information about going to court for a criminal charge.

What happens when I ask for Help Before Court?

A legal assistant will call you to ask a few questions about your income and legal problem to see how we can help you. We will also request your brief of evidence from Victoria Police or Corrections Victoria.

If you are eligible for Help Before Court, a legal assistant will make an appointment for you to speak with a lawyer about your case before your court date. The lawyer will give you legal advice about your case. Depending on your situation, they may also prepare your case and represent you in court.

If you aren’t eligible, a legal assistant will give you general information and resources to help you represent yourself.

Can I get help in my language?

Our staff speak many languages. If we do not speak your language, we can arrange an interpreter for free.

If you have completed the Help Before Court online toolExternal Link and want an interpreter, tell us when we call.

See a list of our available languages and interpreters.

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 09 March 2022

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