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About Us

DCLS began in 1991 when volunteer lawyers provided free legal advice sessions in Darwin and surrounds. Over time, the service expanded its geographical coverage and the range of matters on which it provided assistance, and is now host to specialist services including the Tenants’ Advice Service and the Seniors and Disability Rights Service. In 2000, DCLS was awarded the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s prestigious National Human Rights Award for Community Service.

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