Legal Assistance Referral Scheme

The Legal Assistance Referral Scheme (LARS) does not  accept applications from members of the public without a referral letter from the Court, a legal practitioner or a one of our community partner organisations. Please contact Law Access on 1300 888 529 for information about other legal assistance providers that may be able to assist and, if appropriate, provide you with a referral to LARS

The Legal Assistance Referral Scheme (LARS) matches eligible requests for legal assistance with a barrister or mediator who may provide advice, appear for you or assist you to settle your legal issue. Barristers participate in LARS on a voluntary basis and collectively donate thousands of hours towards assisting members of the public with their legal problems each year.

We consider all applications carefully before deciding whether or not we can provide legal assistance. Please take a few minutes to read this page carefully before completing an application form.

The Application Process

When completing the application, please provide us with as much information as possible. If the matter is already before a Court or Tribunal, please tell us where it is up to and the names of all of the parties that are involved. Matters with a court date receive priority over other applications.

Please provide all of the relevant documents in the matter and evidence of you/your clients current financial position.

If you/your client has applied elsewhere for assistance, for example to Legal Aid NSW or to a Community Legal Centre, please provide us with the outcome of that application and a copy of any correspondence or advice already received.

We are not able to assist if you or your client are already eligible for assistance from Legal Aid. Nor are we able to assist if Legal Aid or another lawyer has already provided advice that that the matter has no reasonable prospects of success.

We cannot assist if the matter relates to certain types of cases including personal injury, medical negligence, a neighbourhood dispute or an apprehended violence order. There are other legal services available to assist in these areas and in those circumstances we will advise you that the matter could be resolved with the help of a community justice centre or another specialist legal service.

ELIGIBILITY

If we determine your application is suitable for referral, we will look for a barrister who can provide advice on the prospects of success or legal merit of your matter. If a matter would suit mediation, we will attempt to find a mediator. Please note that it is not always possible to refer all matters as all barristers participate in LARS on a voluntary basis.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

In most cases, the barrister reviews the documents that have been provided to them and provides applicants with a written or oral advice about the matter.

If the barrister believes that the matter has little prospects of success, the client will be informed of this in writing and the barrister will not have any further involvement. If the barrister is willing to provide further assistance, they will engage directly with the client.

WHAT ABOUT BARRISTERS' FEES?

If your matter goes ahead, the client and the barrister will need to sign what’s called a ‘retainer and fee disclosure agreement’. The fee agreement may include one or more of the following arrangements:

  • Fees may be charged by the barrister at their usual fee rate, but payable only if the court decides in your favour or you can recover your costs
  • Fees paid by instalments
  • Reduced fees
  • No fees

All fee arrangements are negotiated between the client and the barrister, LARS has no involvement in that arrangement.

The barrister may choose to cease assistance if the proceedings are transferred out of New South Wales of for any other reason permitted under the Barristers Rules.

Please refer to the LARS Guidelines should you or your client require further information about our eligibility and assessment process. All applications are subject to the Guidelines.

If you require assistance with your application or have a general enquiry about LARS, please email legalassist@nswbar.asn.au