Could your patients benefit from LawAccess NSW?

Legal problems and health issues are interconnected

General practitioners or primary health workers see the health impacts of legal problems in many people presenting in their clinics every day. Legal problems and health issues are interconnected. Either problem could be the cause or the result of the other.

You may have a patient, such as Caroline, who has come in to see you complaining of headaches and that she can’t sleep at night. Caroline says that she is so exhausted from lack of sleep that she can’t get out of bed most days and has been sacked from her job. Caroline tells you that her debts are getting on top of her now that she isn’t working. Despite tests and scans, no physical reason for the headaches is identified.

Caroline is facing legal action from creditors. Making sure that Caroline is getting the right support and medical treatment is just a part of helping her.

Some of the most common legal problems that people generally encounter during their lives include:

  • consumer issues
  • employment issues - unfair dismissal, discrimination and disputes about entitlements
  • debt and mortgage problems, and
  • problems sorting out property and parenting arrangements after relationship breakdown.

Similarly, some people have health problems that have resulted in legal issues. These health issues may have arisen from workplace injury or due to negligence of another person or organisation; such as an injury caused by tripping over on a footpath.

You can refer your patients to LawAccess NSW to ensure that they talk to the right people to get legal help.

LawAccess NSW was established as the first point of contact for all people in NSW who have legal problems. It is a free government telephone and online service. Over the telephone, people who have a legal problem in NSW can get legal information, referrals and, in some cases, advice. Through the online service, people can access easy to read legal resources and detailed guides for representing themselves in a court or tribunal.

By referring patients to LawAccess NSW you will be helping to resolve your patient’s legal problem.

Contact LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529 between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).

National Relay Service

If a patient is deaf, hard of hearing or has a speech impairment, they can contact the National Relay Service (NRS) for assistance from an interpreter:

  • Voice/TTY - 133 677
  • Speak and listen - 1300 555 727
  • Internet relay
  • Video relay - choose the available NRS video relay contact on Skype and ask for LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529.

Translating and Interpretting Service

A patient requiring an interpreter in a language other than English, can call the Translating and Interpreting Service first on 131 450 and ask for LawAccess NSW.

LawAccess NSW has Aboriginal information and staff who Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients can speak with.

More information is available on the LawAccess NSW website


Article submitted by Wendy Elder, Community Outreach Coordinator, LawAcess NSW, Department of Justice