What is a Duty Lawyer?

duty lawyer

By Kayla Curtis

· Read time: 2 minutes

A duty lawyer is a solicitor that has volunteered their time to assist the Court in providing legal advice to individuals who are legally unrepresented.

The “Duty Solicitor Scheme”, which was created jointly by Legal Aid NSW and the Law Society of NSW, is a Government funded scheme involving private lawyers to assist in matters heard in the local court. These matters can include: 

  1. Criminal matters
  2. DV matters
  3. Children’s court matters

Duty lawyers provide services throughout the majority of the local courts in New South Wales, espically in regional and rural NSW. Duty Solicitors will often appear for clients on their:

  1. First appearance
  2. Pleas of guilty, 
  3. Mentions, 
  4. Adjournments 
  5. Bail applications, which are subjected to the legal aid means test.

Duty solicitors are highly trained solicitors with experience and expertise in the above mentioned fields, which makes their contributions to the duty solicitor scheme incredibly valuable. Without their participation, many clients would not benefit from assistance during the initial stage of their matter and would likely run into barriers accessing justice.

To ensure a duty solicitor is rostered on in your local court, it is best to contact the Court directly and make the necessary enquiries.

For further information surrounding duty solicitors and their role, visit the legal aid website.

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