New Legal Aid Office in Mount Barker

Story ThumbnailMount Barker is the location for a new legal aid office for the Hills region.

The Legal Services Commission now offers legal advice and family dispute resolution services from newly constructed offices in Walker Street.

In announcing the move, Hamish Gilmore, Director, said the new office was the first to be opened by the Legal Services Commission in more than 15 years and is ‘consistent with our strategic plan to increase services to regional areas and a recognition of the growing population in and around the Mount Barker area.’

Conveniently located in central Mount Barker, the service will be a ‘one stop shop’ for anyone with a legal problem or query.

As well as offering free specialist legal advice by appointment on family law, child support, social security, consumer credit and migration law, the centre will have a telephone hotline for on-the-spot advice.

In a first for the Legal Services Commission, the reception area has a dedicated computer terminal for internet access to the Law Handbook Online www.lawhand, an easy to use guide to the law in plain English.

The new service will also feature special conferencing rooms for family dispute resolution as an alternative to going to court.

In a family conference, an independent chairperson trained in law conducts a special meeting to help people find their own solutions to their family law problems.

‘Family law conferencing is a good way of settling disputes without the stress and expense of going to court’, said Mr Gilmore.

The office will be staffed by experienced lawyers and other staff.

The coordinator, Bruce McCormack, has over 20 years of practice as a solicitor and is a former magistrate.

Mr McCormack said he was looking forward to working in the local community and helping people with legal problems.

Pictured left to right: Gabrielle Canny (Advice Manager), Hamish Gilmore (Director), Margaret Fitzsimons (Adviser) and Bruce McCormack (Senior Legal Adviser).