About Us

Darwin Community Legal Service (DCLS) was established in 1991 by volunteer lawyers who were passionate about providing free legal advice to financially disadvantaged people in Darwin. Over time, the service expanded its geographical coverage and the range of matters for which it provides assistance.

DCLS is a community-based organisation committed to legal and social justice and the protection of human rights in the Northern Territory. We assist those who are disadvantaged to access justice by:

  • Providing high-quality legal advice and advocacy services
  • Identifying issues and advocating for law reform
  • Promoting an understanding of rights and how to assert them.

DCLS provide a multi-disciplinary service consisting of:

  • A General Legal Service that provides free civil legal advice and representation to vulnerable members of the community, as well as delivering legal education and promoting law reform.
  • A Tenant’s Advice Service that provides information, online resources, specialist advice, assistance, and representation to tenants in the Northern Territory. As well as delivering legal education and promoting law reform.
  • A Seniors and Disability Rights Service that supports the rights of people with disability and promotes the rights of older persons in the Northern Territory.
  • A Free Legal Advice Clinic staffed by NT Lawyers who volunteer their time to provide high quality legal advice after hours and on weekends.
  • Specialist projects including Older Persons Abuse, NDIS appeals and working with the Disability Royal Commission.

Our aim 30 years ago was to be fearless, independent advocates that were visible and vocal on issues of injustice and disadvantage – this is still our aim today!

Darwin Community Legal Service (DCLS) is one of 200 community legal centres (CLCs) around Australia. These centres are set up to provide legal services to disadvantaged people, deliver community legal education, and undertake law reform projects. Focusing on ‘justice’ rather than ‘the law’, DCLS relies on the support of the community, and the participation of skilled volunteers. DCLS aims to be a fearless, independent advocate towards resolving issues of injustice and disadvantage.

Justice for a stronger community

Strengthen access to justice and empower the community through holistic advice, education and advocacy

Strategic plan 2018-2021


Our current patron is Her Honour the Honourable Vicki O’Halloran, Administrator of the Northern Territory.

DCLS would like to thank our previous patrons –

His Honour the Honourable John Hardy AO, Administrator of the Northern Territory and Mrs Marie Hardy – 2014 to 2017

Her Honour the Honourable Sally Thomas AC, Administrator of the Northern Territory – 2011 to 2014

His Honour the Honourable Tom Pauling AO QC, Administrator of the Northern Territory and Mrs Tessa Pauling – 2008 to 2011

Skip to content