Collie residents now have greater access to legal advice following the opening of a new “virtual office” of Legal Aid WA, just months after plans to shut down the town’s courthouse were scrapped following a community outcry.
Technology installed at the Collie Family Center will remotely connect people with Legal Aid lawyers via videoconferencing, helping remove a significant barrier to receiving legal assistance and advice in regional areas.
The Collie office is the 19th precinct to join Legal Aid WA’s Virtual Office legal services program and will be able to provide advice across a range of family, civil and criminal law issues including family violence and restraining orders, parenting and property settlement.
Based in outer metropolitan areas and regional centers across WA, these virtual offices have provided more than 4000 legal consultations since the program was launched in July 2019.
Collie-Preston MLA Jodie Hanns said the much-needed facility would help reduce barriers to legal representation.
“This will ensure Collie residents receive the same face-to-face assistance that those in the city experience,” she said.
“All West Australians deserve better access to justice, no matter where they live.”
Julie Jackson, Director of Early Intervention Services at Legal Aid WA, said a state-of-the-art video screen had been installed at the center which would connect clients directly with a lawyer or support worker at Legal Aid’s head office in Perth, or its office in Bunbury.
“Face-to-face legal advice helps to build trust and rapport, which we now know can contribute to successful legal outcomes,” Ms Jackson said.
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