There are currently over 600,000 charities and not for profits in Australia, and now they all have the opportunity to receive free legal advice due to the expansion of a new information hub.
Justice Connect is a group that provides free legal assistance to those who are ineligible for legal aid or who cannot afford it. The organisation also has a not for profit law service, Information Hub, to provide legal assistance to charities and not for profits. This information hub has already been available in Victoria and New South Wales for 18 months, but it recently expanded and the service is now available to organisations in all of Australia's states and territories.
Some charities and not for profits, such as those in rural areas, have a history of difficulty accessing and affording legal services. It can also be very hard for organisations to understand the legal system, as charity law is known for being difficult to follow in Australia, even for lawyers.
Justice Connect hopes to help charities and not for profits by allowing them to gain free legal assistance through their Information Hub. The free online service will have 210 resources available, with information about laws for charities and not for profits all throughout Australia.
This information hub is especially helpful to smaller charities, which are mainly run by volunteers who have less formal knowledge of the legal system. According to Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) Commissioner, Susan Pascoe, "The 2014 Australian Charities Report found that around 30 per cent of registered charities are 'micro' in size", meaning they have an annual revenue of less than $50,000. By allowing these organisations to have free access to hundreds of legal resources, the Information Hub is helping to ensure that smaller charities are not at a disadvantage legally.
At Giva, we appreciate organisations that work to give back to the community around them, and Justice Connect's Information Hub is an important effort to support the sustainability of Australia's not for profit sector.