If you are developing community legal information, the resources on this webpage can help you:
- scope legal need and plan community legal information
- think about collaborating with us, or using our community legal information
- use plain language and other guides to improve accessibility and quality
- consider the effectiveness of your community legal information.
What is community legal information?
Community legal information is general information about the law, legal processes and referrals. It can help people understand their rights and responsibilities, how the legal system works and where to get help.
Community legal information comes in many formats – videos, fact sheets, webpages and more.
Victoria Legal Aid, community legal centres and other organisations develop community legal information in response to community needs.
Planning and scoping
Before developing something new, consider whether you can use or adapt existing community legal information to meet the need you have identified.
Working together on community legal information
Sharing and extending our reach
We are open to sharing our community legal information and avoiding duplication whenever possible.
We encourage you to link to the community legal information on our website. That way, your clients and community can access the most recent information we have.
You may also use or adapt community legal information that we develop. Our community legal information is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence. That means you are free to re-use the work under that licence, on the condition that you credit Victoria Legal Aid as author, indicate if changes were made and follow other licence terms. The licence does not apply to any images, photographs or branding, including the Victoria Legal Aid logo.
Supporting you to extend your reach
We are developing guidelines about when we can electronically share and promote community legal information made by community legal centres. Until then, we will consider any request on a case-by-case basis.
Guides for creating community legal information
Plain language and style
Plain language is clear, simple, modern language. It uses only as many words as necessary. It avoids jargon, unnecessary legal expressions and complex language.
Writing in plain language does not mean you need to ‘dumb down’ the law. It means your writing is clear and concise so your audience can understand it.
You are using plain language if your audience can easily:
- find what they need
- understand what they find
- use what they find to meet their needs.
Some of the key writing techniques of plain language are:
- a logical structure
- everyday, straightforward language
- active voice
- short sentences, not more than 22 words
- using ‘you’ and ‘we’.
For examples of these writing techniques and other plain language suggestions, read our Plain language writing guide:
- the for any plain language or style issues not included in our guide
- the for spelling, hyphenation and capitalisation rules
We have developed these checklists to help with drafting content in Word and checking final artwork:
Accessibility and inclusion
We follow the Web Contents Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to make sure all community members can access our online information.
For more information about accessibility standards and guidance on developing community legal information that is accessible and inclusive, visit:
- in the Australian Government Style Manual
- by the Victorian Government
- by People with Disability Australia
- by the Victorian Government
- by the Victorian Government for creating digital content that is accessible for people with disabilities
- by Community Legal Centres NSW.
Effective community legal information
There is a growing body of research and evidence about the effectiveness of community legal education and information.
is a series of fact sheets developed by the Community Development and Community Legal Education Working Group of the Federation of Community Legal Centres (Vic). Please if you need this information in a different format.
Please contact us if you have queries, feedback or would like to work together on community legal information.
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 November 2023