Not-for-profit Law
Legal help for community organisations

Legal Advice

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Free legal advice

We provide free legal advice to eligible community organisations and social enterprises via:

  • legal advice from a Not-for-profit Law lawyer, and/or

  • referral to one of our member law firms.

Please note: Due to ​a high volume of enquiries, you may experience extended wait times for our legal advice and pro bono assistance referral services. In the meantime, you may find what you're looking for in our free resources

We expect that normal service levels will resume in early 2022. Thank you for your patience.

Eligibility for free legal advice

We take the following into consideration when determining an organisation’s eligibility for free legal advice:
  • the organisation must be a not-for-profit community organisation or social enterprise

  • the organisation must serve the public interest

  • the organisation must be unable to afford or have difficulty in accessing legal assistance 

  • the legal issue must be one in which our member firms are able to answer

Other factors we consider

We assess all matters on a case-by-case basis.
We prioritise assisting organisations that assist disadvantaged or marginalised individuals, or which have broader public interest objectives.
We take into account our in-house lawyers’ expertise and capacity.
When referring matters to our member law firms, we are guided by the pro bono eligibility guidelines and capacity of the firms
When don't we help?

We generally don’t help with the following legal matters:

  • internal disputes (like a dispute between your organisation and a member, or disputes between board members), however, we have fact sheets on internal disputes and can let you know about free dispute resolution services 

  • disputes between two or more not-for-profit organisations, and

  • complicated disputes including where court action has been taken or is likely to be taken.

We generally don’t help the following organisations:

  • trade unions

  • sporting groups

  • political associations

  • religious organisations

  • residential action groups

  • statutory bodies

  • privately controlled foundations or corporate foundations, and

  • for-profit businesses (unless a not-for-profit is seeking to set up a for-profit social enterprise).

We generally do not provide reasons for not assisting in a particular matter.

Are you starting a not-for-profit organisation?

New or start-up organisations should read our Getting Started resources. These resources will help to guide you through setting up a not-for-profit organisation.

We will generally be unable to assist with any further questions about starting up unless you have read our Getting Started resources and can show that you have:

  • clear aims and purposes of the proposed organisation (a draft mission statement for the organisation)

  • considered what existing services are available, if a new organisation is needed, or whether you can work together with an existing organisation

  • details of the proposed programs and services the new organisation plans to provide or carry out

  • given proper consideration to the governance arrangements for the proposed organisation (for example, the names of potential directors or committee members), and

  • a detailed financial plan with proper consideration given to potential funding sources.

Make an enquiry

You might find the answer to your question(s) in our legal resources.

If not, and your organisation is eligible, please complete the online enquiry form below. We do not generally take phone enquiries. Using the online form is the quickest and easiest way for us to deal with your enquiry and means that we can respond to you sooner (usually within 3-4 working days) and let you know how we might be able to assist.


Working together

11 December 2020

Working together we can help: free help for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community groups. We take care of the legal stuff so you can spend your time doing what you do best - working with community and making your organisation stronger.

Read more... Working together

SSTF: Governance Health Checks

12 November 2021

Thanks to the NSW Government’s Social Sector Transformation Fund, we're offering free Governance Health Checks to eligible not-for-profit organisations in the social services and health sectors and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations based in New South Wales.

Read more... SSTF: Governance Health Checks