Who we are


To be an independent and influential voice that empowers and strengthens the community through access to legal services, education, information and law reform activities.


Empowerment, integrity, respect, quality and participation.


In 2015, Deloitte Access Economics provided extensive pro bono assistance to the Board in developing a strategic plan for the next five years. The result was the Fitzroy Legal Service Strategic Plan 2015–2020 (and see the report upon which the plan was based). Our strategic plan is built on a strong evidence base that articulates the compelling history of the Service, our clients, the challenging fiscal and political environment, and best practice examples from other jurisdictions.


When the Fitzroy Legal Service opened its doors on 18 December 1972, it became Australia’s first non-Aboriginal community legal centre. Located in the basement of the Fitzroy Town Hall, in what was then one of the poorest suburbs of Melbourne, this new legal service set out to do the unthinkable: provide free legal advice to all comers.

In the beginning it was run entirely by volunteers, only later acquiring paid staff. To this day, we rely on an extensive body of volunteers to run our free legal advice service and assist in the running of many of our other programs. Although a relatively small organisation, we have played an important role as the forerunner of community legal centres throughout the country. We have a long history of running public interest cases. And the empowerment of clients to participate in the resolution of their own problems has always been a central part of our work.

We acknowledge significant contribution to the Service by conferring life membership. Our life members are: Sue Bothman, Brian Collingburn, John Finlayson, Julian Gardner, Tessa Hay, Robin Inglis, Michael Kingston, Henrik Lassen, Trevor Williamson and Brian Wright.

To read more about the history of the Fitzroy Legal Service, read Poverty Law and Social Change by John Chesterman, available in our online store.