Townsville Community Legal Service Inc
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Legal representation

It is not uncommon for community workers to seek legal advice in the face of a workplace dilemma. Many community organisations have retainer arrangements with private solicitors on a paid or honorary basis. Many also seek advice from free services such as community legal centres, legal aid offices and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services. It is important to ensure that when advice is needed community workers have access to advice, particularly where the need is urgent, as is often the case. Urgent cases include advice on:

professional, ethical or conduct issues
civil and criminal liability
client grievances or complaints.

Areas of law advised on are diverse and include:

employment and industrial law
laws relating to individual decision making
laws affecting people with disabilities
mental health laws
accidents and injuries, including workplace injuries
freedom of information and privacy law
anti-discrimination laws
incorporated associations and non profit corporations
complaints of professional negligence
copyright and intellectual property
taxation law.

Consider the case where a community worker advised a client to take a particular course of action, which the client subsequently alleges caused financial detriment or loss. The community worker and the organisation may need to obtain legal advice on a number of issues, including:

Is there a case for breach of contract?
Is there a case for negligence?
Are there other legal issues such as breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty?

Questions to ask relating to legal advice include:

Do you have access to legal advice?
What process or procedure is relevant to obtaining legal advice?
Will there be fees involved?
Who will pay any associated fees?