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Legal help factsheets

Consumer Law

Be aware of your rights as a consumer. Before you sign a contract with either a service provider or for a purchase, if you have received defective products or goods that do not meet the representations made by the sales person or if you have had your money or identity stolen or believe this might happen because of a ‘scam’ contact familiarise yourself with information on how the Australian Consumer Law applies to goods and services and contact:

Credit and debt

If you are having difficulty managing your finances or have a financial problem then you should contact:

Crime and police

The police investigate if laws have been broken. They can charge you if they believe you have broken the law. It is then up to the court to hear the evidence and decide if you are guilty and what the penalty should be. Less serious offences (summary offences) are heard in the Local Court also referred to as the magistrates court. The magistrate decides both guilt and penalty. More serious offences (indictable offences) are heard in the higher courts (District Court, Supreme Court) the jury decides if you are guilty and the judge decides the penalty. Most cases are heard in the Local Court. If you have been charged with an offence the following information may be useful:

Discrimination

If you are being discriminated against because of your race, gender, disability or just wanting to know more about your rights the following information may be useful:

Disputes with neighbours

Are you having problems with your neighbour. It is always useful to know where you stand and what your rights and responsibilities are as a neighbour. Below are some common issues and sources of information and advice.

Employment

It is important that you know and fully understand your rights in the workplace. You should stay informed about what you are entitled to, what is ethical under the Fair work Act, and what you can do if something goes wrong. 

Family (domestic violence/relationship breakdown/sexual assault)

If you are experiencing relationship breakdown the following information may be useful:

Fines

A fine is when you are asked to pay money to the government for breaking a law. For example, speeding, littering, or parking. A fine is sometimes also called a penalty notice, infringement notice, on the spot fine, ticket, Criminal Infringement Notice (CIN). Sometimes you may get a 'fine' from a private organisation, for example, a private car park. If you have a fine the following information may be useful in understanding your rights and options:

Freedom of Information

Does a government body have information that you would like to access? If so the following information may be useful:

Going to court

When you have a case in a court or tribunal and you don’t have a lawyer, you are said to be ‘representing yourself’. If you find yourself in this situation, you might find the following resources useful:

Housing and residential tenancy

If you are renting and having problems with your landlord you should contact:

Immigration

If you are new to Australia, a migrant or a refugee and need support to settle and participate in community life the following information may be useful:

Indigenous Issues

If you are an indigenous student and are seeking additional support and assistance, the following information may be useful:

Intellectual Property

If you are a student and your are developing intellectual property it is important that you are aware of your rights. To ensure you are protecting your intellectual property, the following information may be useful:

Insurance

If you are having problems with claiming on your insurance or need advice on resolving a dispute the following information may be useful:

Mental Health

The Mental Health Legal Centre provides a free and confidential legal service to anyone who has experienced mental illness where their legal problem relates to their mental illness.

Power of Attorneys and Wills

If you want to make a power of attorney, enduring guardian or a will the following information may be useful:

Public Transport

It is important that you are aware of your rights while travelling on public transport and on public roads. If you have received an infringement notice or concerned for well fair on public transport the following information may be useful:

Social security / centrelink

If you are unhappy with a decision made about your Centrelink entitlements, there are several steps you can take which are outlined on the Centrelink website.

Statutory declarations

A statutory declaration is a legal document in the form of a written statement that allows a person to declare something to be true. Following is a link to more information about statutory declarations as well as links to a statutory declaration templates.

Traffic: parking and car accidents

Victims of crime

If you have been injured by an act of violence, such as an assault, domestic violence or sexual assault, that took place in NSW, you may be eligible for an award of compensation between $7500 and $50,000. Compensation can also be claimed if you are injured as a result of witnessing an act of violence or if you are injured while trying to prevent someone from committing an act of violence. Parents or guardians of children who are injured as a result of learning about the act of violence can also claim compensation. The following information will help you understand your rights under the Charter of Victims Rights and how you can access them:

Other useful factsheets

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