Hot Topics

Margie - Solicitor

Family Violence: How Can I Help?

Together with the Multicultural Hub Canberra we ran a series of workshops in Dinka, Karen, Arabic and Mandarin called 'family violence: how can I help?'

Watch the WIN News Canberra clip to hear Zakia from the Multicultural Hub and Margie, solicitor and team leader of our Domestic Violence and Personal Protection Unit, talk about why these workshops are so necessary.

If you or someone you know is experiencing family violence, there are services that can help you. Contact our Helpline on 1300 654 314.

David Smith MP

"Legal aid doing great work in the ACT"

On 17 February 2021, David Smith MP highlighted the work of Legal Aid ACT and community legal centres in promoting a just society in the ACT. He called on the Federal Government to "ensure that vital community services like Legal Aid are funded adequately across the country and that their contribution is appropriately acknowledged." 

We would like to thank him for raising awareness of the work that community legal centres do for our community. 


The Disability Royal Commission Legal Service

The Disability Royal Commission Legal Service is a free national legal service providing information
and advice to people wanting to participate in the Royal Commission.

The website is a one-stop-shop for information about how to get legal help and making a submission
to the Royal Commission and provides links to support services such as counselling and referral
services, help to prepare submissions or financial help with appearing before the commission.

People can access the Disability Royal Commission Legal Service online
or by phone: 1800 771 800 Monday to Friday from 9.15am to 5.15pm (AEDT).

New legal service website helps people access Disability Royal Commission.pdf201.83 KB
Australian Capital Territory coat of arms

The practice of dowry and the incidence of dowry abuse in Australia Report

The practice of dowry and incidence of dowry abuse in Australia was referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee in June 2018 for inquiry and report by 6 Dec 2019. 


Dowry_abuse_report_Parliament.pdf624.33 KB

National framework to improve accessibility to Australian courts for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and migrant and refugee women

"Australia is one of the most ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse countries in the world. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is nearing 700,000, or 3 per cent of the total population, and 11 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples speak an Australian Indigenous language at home.The 2011 Census recorded that over a quarter of Australia’s population was born overseas and another one fifth had at least one overseas-born parent.More than 300 languages are spoken in Australian households.Almost half (49 per cent) of longer-standing migrants and 67 per cent of recent arrivals speak a language other than English at home. This diversity is expected to increase."

- Judicial Council on Cultural Diversity 

JCCD_National_Framework.pdf1.07 MB
40 years of Legal Aid ACT

40 Years of the Legal Aid Commission (ACT)

Across 2017-18, the Legal Aid Commission (ACT) is celebrating 40 years of service to Canberra and the surrounding region. Over these decades the Commission has provided legal assistance to thousands of people in need of representation at courts and tribunals, and legal advice and education to countless others. Throughout this time, the goal of providing quality legal services to the community has always remained at the heart of the Commission’s services.

To find out more about the last 40 years of Legal Aid ACT, click to download the file below. 

History_of_Legal_Aid_ACT_40_years.pdf437.98 KB
Legal Aid

Older Persons ACT Legal Service


The Older Persons ACT Legal Service is a new specialist service within Legal Aid ACT which aims to provide legal assistance to older people in the Canberra region.

For more information, visit the Older Persons ACT Legal Service page. 

OPALS_Poster_2018.pdf119.17 KB
Wage Theft in Silence

Wage Theft In Silence - Why Migrant Workers Do Not Recover Their Unpaid Wages In Australia

"This report draws on responses from 4,322 migrant workers who participated in the National Temporary Migrant Work Survey, including over 2,250 participants who expressly acknowledged that they had been underpaid while working on a temporary visa in Australia."


Wage+theft+in+Silence+Report.pdf1.47 MB
Australian Capital Territory coat of arms

Family Law Pathways Network Newsletter August 2018

FLPN Newsletter August 2018


Latest News

Sweeping changes to family court system

From the start of 2019, the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court will be combined in an attempt to speed up the process of settling family disputes by providing one court, one set of rules and procedures. It is hoped that the some 22,000 cases filed across the two courts will be able to reach trial sooner than the current 1.5 year period. It is expected an additional 8000 cases will be resolved each year due to the crossover in jurisdiction and procedures.

There has been scepticism from the legal community, predominantly due to the lack of consultation, and the proposed divisions within the new ‘super court’.


Senate inquiry into dowry abuse in Australia to probe ‘devastating’ impacts on women

The Senate Standing Committees on Legal and Constitutional Affairs is assessing the adequacy of Australia’s family law and migration law systems in addressing dowry abuse, after media investigations uncovered a spate of horrific deaths resulting from the cultural practice. It will also consider the potential links of dowry abuse with family violence, forced marriage, modern slavery, as well as mental health outcomes for women.

The Committee is currently accepting public submissions, and will consult members from affected communities, advocates and peak body organisations. A final report is due back on 6 December 2018.


Domestic Violence offenders no longer allowed to question abuse victims in Family Court

Legislation has been introduced by the Federal Government to eliminate the ability of self-represented litigants to cross-examine their victims during family law matters, in an attempt to curb community concern and avoid further trauma of victims. The changes mean that where there are clear allegations and/or convictions of violence, the perpetrator is unable to cross-examine the victim of the violence. Courts also now have the discretion to stop direct cross-examination where domestic violence is alleged, and are required to put in place extra protection for alleged victims if questioning is permitted.


“Senior Sitter” ad sparks call for better vetting of aged care workers to reduce elder abuse

In response to a newsletter advertisement offering to mind seniors in clients’ homes on a freelance basis for payment, a Gold Coast solicitor is calling for Australia to introduce a coordinated system for screening people who work in the aged care sector, similar to Working with Children Checks. The solicitor has raised concerns as to the safety of the elderly who could be placed into the care of unvetted individuals, and a vetting process would help guard against elder abuse.


Recent Publications

CFCA Paper: Diagnosis in child mental health

This paper encourages practitioners in the child and family welfare sector to examine their own understanding of diagnostic systems, and to critically reflect on the role diagnosis plays in their work. The diagnostic systems employed in Australia are still being debated, and emerging evidence suggests that certain mental health conditions may be overdiagnosed in children. The Paper finds that current diagnostic systems are not scientific certainties, rather are cultural tools to understand different varieties of psychological distress and impairment.

Full publication:

CFCA Resource Sheet: The intersection between the child protection and youth justice systems.

This resource summarises data collected linking the child protection system and youth justice supervision in Australia. It finds that young people in the child protection system are much more likely to be under youth justice supervision than the general population. The reasons for this are multiple and complex, and involve a range of risk factors including a history of maltreatment, social disadvantage, out-of-home care experiences, trauma and developmental delays.

While only a minority of young people involved in the child protection system were also under youth justice supervision in 2014–16, those who were represent a comparatively high proportion of the total number under youth justice supervision

Full publication:


Training and Conferences

2018 National Family Law Conference

Registrations are now open for the annual National Family Law Conference, this year held in Brisbane. Speakers including current and past Justices, psychiatrists, psychologists and other experts will speak on a range of issues including Arbitration, Psychopathy, self-represented litigants, property disputes, and therapy for family violence perpetrators.

Date: 2-5 October 2018
Location: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
Registration and more information:

The Stanley Cohen Distinguished Research Award is sponsored by the Oregon Family Institute. The award was created to recognize outstanding research and/or research achievements in the field of family and divorce. The award is named for the late Dr. Stanley Cohen, founding member of AFCC who served as executive director and co-editor of the Review.


Children and young people in separated families: Family law system experiences and needs

Final Report 2018

Rachel Carson, Edward Dunstan, Jessie Dunstan and Dinika Roopani

Research Report— June 2018

This report sets out findings from the Children and Young People in Separated Families: Family Law System Experiences and Needs project, a qualitative study commissioned and funded by the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department (AGD). This study aimed to investigate the experiences and needs of young people whose parents had separated and had accessed the family law system.

Direct cross‑examination in family law matters

Incidence and context of direct cross‑examination involving self-represented litigants

Rachel Carson, Lixia Qu, John De Maio and Dinika Roopani

This report sets out findings from the Direct Cross-examination in Family Law Matters project, which was commissioned and funded by the Australian Government, Attorney-General's Department. The project explores quantitative and qualitative data relevant to direct cross-examination involving self-represented litigants in family law matters, derived from court files and audio and transcripts of proceedings, collected from the Family Court of Australia (FCoA) and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (FCCoA), together with an analysis of relevant unreported judgments of the Family Court of Western Australia (FCoWA).

A comprehensive application to solve shared parenting challenges once and for all.

  • Understand your parenting schedule at a glance.
  • Manage shared parenting expenses and payments.
  • Share and store vital family details.
  • Document and organize your communication within one secure app.
  • Simplify requests for parenting time exchanges, reimbursements, and more.

Australian Capital Territory coat of arms

Elder Abuse

The World Health Organisation refers to elder abuse as 'a single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person'. 

In 2016, Legal Aid ACT made a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission on the topic of Elder Abuse. This submission paper was titled 'Protecting the Rights of Older Australians From Abuse'. 

This year Legal Aid ACT received funding to launch a specialist legal service for older persons. If you are an older person seeking legal advice, please contact our Older Persons ACT Legal Service (OPALS).

Legal Aid ACT has also developed a number of factsheets on the issue of elder abuse. These can be downloaded from the Information and Education page. 

Submission_to_ALRC_Elder_Abuse_Issues_Paper_Legal_Aid_ACT.pdf970.88 KB
Australian Capital Territory coat of arms

Domestic and Family Violence

WE CAN HELP - call 6207 1874 or 1300 654 314 for an appointment.

Free Legal Information. Driving under the influence & licensing matters.

DUI and Licensing 2018 schedule

Free legal information. Driving under the influence & licensing matters.

DUI_and_Licensing_2018.pdf165.85 KB