A NEW service offering legal advice to vulnerable community members has launched in Mandurah.
Mandurah will be home to one of 10 virtual Legal Aid WA (LAWA) offices, which have been placed in areas where the organisation does not have a physical office.
As part of the service, LAWA has installed screens with cameras at partnering community centres, giving those who need it face-to-face interaction with a lawyer.
LAWA legal practice development managing solicitor Helen DeBrito said the locations were chosen after they identified areas with the greatest need for the service.
“LAWA saw a need for disadvantaged West Australians who couldn’t obtain legal advice face-to-face because they either lived remotely or didn’t have the ability to travel into the city,” she said.
“Face-to-face legal advice helps to build trust and rapport, which has significant advantages in terms of successful legal outcomes.
“We are trying to revolutionise the resources that we have, and this initiative is already making a difference.”
WA Attorney General John Quigley said it would give WA people another way to access legal advice.
“One of the great benefits of the virtual offices is they are hosted by organisations that already provide many different services in their local communities, including information, advocacy, counselling services, support and referral.” He said.
“The screens and cameras provide a cost-effective way to deliver services in these locations and Legal Aid is already assessing other locations around WA for a second tranche of virtual offices.”
The virtual Legal Aid WA office can be accessed at the Citizens Advice Bureau’s Mandurah office.