Free Legal Help Now Available for Every Charity
3 March 2016 at 8:40 am
All of Australia’s 600,000 charities and Not for Profits can now access free legal advice, following the national launch of a new information hub.
Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law service has expanded its Information Hub, making it available to everyone working in the Not for Profit sector.
The free online service has been available in Victoria and NSW for the last 18 months, with more than 100,000 people using it to find answers to their legal questions.
With support from philanthropists and law firms around Australia, the Information Hub will have 210 detailed resources covering laws for charities and Not for Profits in every state and territory.
Director of National Projects at Not-for-profit Law, Sue Woodward, said for rural and regional charities and other Not for Profits, access to legal services was particularly difficult and expensive.
“Nationally, a quarter of all charities are rural or regional, but outside of Victoria and NSW, this number rises to 47 per cent,” Woodward said.
“This underscores the need for a free online service such as the Information Hub to be nationally available.”
Woodward said charities and Not for Profits often found it difficult to understand the legal system.
“Charity law is notoriously difficult, even for lawyers, let alone ordinary Australians just trying to help their local communities,” she said.
“Navigating the legal landscape is a daunting prospect, and community-minded people shouldn’t be turned off their work because of this. Even large charities find it hard, so what hope does the local volunteer group have? That’s why we created this hub – we want to help the helpers.”
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) Commissioner, Susan Pascoe AM, said the new online tool would be useful for the sector.
“The ACNC welcomes the launch of the new Justice Connect Not-For-Profit Law national Information Hub, which will provide free resources to registered charities in all jurisdictions,” Pascoe said.
“The 2014 Australian Charities Report found that around 30 per cent of registered charities are ‘micro’ in size, with annual revenue of less than $50,000. These charities are largely reliant on volunteers and therefore may have limited or no access to professional advice.
“The hundreds of free resources now available on the Justice Connect Information Hub will greatly contribute to the sustainability of the sector, in particular smaller charities, through increased guidance and education.”
The Information Hub can be found here.