Have financial constraints caused you to avoid seeking legal advice to help you and your business?

This is a situation that many small business owners find themselves in.

Often, the time and resources needed to pursue a legal matter (like a breach of contract or unpaid invoice) causes business owners to walk away from the issue.

The good news is that access to justice may be easier than you think, with a range of no charge ('pro bono') or very low cost legal services that small business owners can access.

Here is a recap of each service and what they offer.

Please note: Access to these services is subject to meeting each organisation’s eligibility criteria and the capacity of each service to take on new clients.

John Curtin Law Clinic

The Curtin Law School provides pro bono legal services via the John Curtin Law Clinic to eligible clients who cannot afford paid legal assistance and are not eligible to receive other pro bono legal services.

Final-year Curtin University law students (supervised by qualified practicing lawyers) provide pro bono legal services to small business clients under their small business disputes advice service. These services include:

  • identifying your legal options
  • completing forms for court appearances
  • conducting legal research
  • providing referrals

Complete this online application to see if you are eligible for assistance.

Law Access

Law Access is a not-for-profit organisation that coordinates the delivery of pro bono legal assistance (free or at a reduced cost) by the Western Australian legal profession.

The service is targeted at not-for-profits and individuals in genuine need of legal assistance who satisfy a means and merits test. (Organisations that operate to make a profit are not eligible to receive legal referrals from Law Access.)

Visit the Law Access website to find out more.

Community Legal WA

Community Legal WA provides free or low cost legal help to people who are ineligible for legal aid and unable to afford the services of a lawyer. The services provided include:

  • information and advice
  • referrals
  • casework and minor assistance
  • representation and advocacy
  • duty lawyer services
  • community legal education
  • non-legal support
  • policy and law reform

Visit the Community Legal WA website to find out more about their services.

Everyday Justice

Everyday Justice is a national service providing free assistance for a wide range of legal matters, including workplace issues, credit and debit issues, and bankruptcy.

The service is available to people and organisations that are ineligible for legal aid and are unable to afford the services of a lawyer.

Visit their website to find out if you are eligible for assistance and the areas they can help with.

Aboriginal Legal Service of WA

The Aboriginal Legal Service of WA (ALSWA) provides legal services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout Western Australia.

The ALSWA provides pro bono legal services funded by the Commonwealth Attorney General’s department and will provide help if the case meets the requirements outlined by their contract with the Australian Government.

Subiaco Justice Centre

The Subiaco Justice Centre provides a free 30 minute appointment to small business owners. The Centre can provide general advice, such as assessing if you have a legal problem, suggesting possible options to explore and providing referrals.

Your business does not need to be operating in the City of Subiaco to qualify.

Appointments can be made via their website.

Belmont Business Enterprise Centre

The Belmont Business Enterprise Centre (BBEC) provides a free 30-minute legal advisory session on business matters.

To be eligible, you need to be a BBEC member and have your legal matter pre-approved by them. Any additional time above the 30 minute consultation will incur a fee.

More information

Need help with a legal matter? See our legal and risk information for small business owners, including practical guidance on topics such as contracts and agreements and tips on hiring a lawyer.

If you need help finding a lawyer, the Law Society of WA’s Online Law Directory can help you find a legal professional based on the type of legal matter, local and any language needs.

Legal and risk
21 March 2023