The University of Newcastle Legal Centre
Tap into your potential with the University of Newcastle Legal Centre
The University of Newcastle Legal Centre (UNLC) is the centrepiece of our clinical program. Here students engage with the community and with legal professionals to develop practical skills in the application of the law.
We value community engagement and offer a range of services for members of the public, including free legal services, law clinics and seminars.
Law School academics Sher Campbell and Shaun McCarthy see the UNLC as a way to open pathways for students by developing both their intellectual and practical skills.
"We're not just interested in churning out lawyers; we educate the whole student and that's what we do right from the beginning." Sher Campbell
"First day on the job they're up on their feet in the court advocating for a client." Shaun McCarthy
The UNLC provides free legal advice and information to members of the community on a range of matters including:
- Family law
- Victim's compensation
- Criminal law
- Wills, powers of attorney, enduring guardianship
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Consumer and fair trading issues
- Neighbour disputes
- Public interest matters
- Mental health
- Social security
Current law students completing the University of Newcastle Professional Program assist UNLC and volunteer solicitors with client interviews and casework.
When you visit the UNLC, your initial meeting will be with a law student. You will then meet with a UNLC solicitor or a volunteer solicitor who may be able to provide you with legal advice in your matter.
We may be able to take on your case, depending on:
- Whether your case will assist our students in their legal education
- Your financial situation
- The likelihood of success in your case
- Whether a UNLC solicitor is available to take your case
- Whether there are issues of a potential miscarriage of justice or potential for law reform.
The UNLC undertakes cases in the public interest. Find out more information on our previous public interest cases.
If we cannot assist you, we will refer you to someone who may be able to help.
Law on the Beach
Law on the Beach is a free legal advice clinic staffed by University of Newcastle Professional Program students and UNLC lawyers. Held in a relaxed setting at Newcastle Surf Club, it is run during January and February each year. This clinic is specifically directed towards young people, but is also available to members of the community who are disadvantaged in dealing with the legal system and would not otherwise be able to afford private legal services.
Legal Advice Clinics are held in the Surf Life Saving Club Meeting Room at Newcastle Beach – Shortland Esplanade, Newcastle on the following days:
- 22/01/2014 9:30am – 2:30pm
- 29/01/2014 9:30am – 2:30pm
- 05/02/2014 9:30am – 2:30pm
- 12/02/2014 9:30am – 2:30pm
- 19/02/2014 9:30am – 2:30pm
The clinics run on a 'drop in' basis so no appointment is necessary.
Public Interest Environmental Law Clinic
This clinic is staffed by an Environmental Law Lecturer and students studying environmental law. It offers members of the community free legal advice on environmental law matters of public interest. Legal advice sessions are held on Wednesday evenings during University semesters by appointment.
Morning Advice Clinics
During University semesters Professional Program students and UNLC lawyers offer free legal advice to members of the community on a drop in basis. Clinics are held on Wednesdays between 9:00am and 11:30am. Drop in to the Centre or contact us for more information.
Evening Advice Clinics
Legal advice sessions are held on Wednesday evenings during University semesters by appointment. These sessions are staffed by volunteer law students and lawyers from private law firms. Please contact the Centre to make an appointment.
Legal Seminars for International Students
Each semester law students prepare and present a seminar to international students about Australian law. Information on relevant topics such as tenancy, consumer rights, traffic offences and dealing with the Police are areas covered in these presentations. Students interested in these seminars should contact the University of Newcastle International Office for more information.
During Law Week, which is held in May each year, a street side stall is staffed by Professional Program students to promote the UNLC's legal services to the community.