Last Updated: December 1, 2016

Who We Help

EDO Qld offers free legal advice and acts for individuals, community groups and conservation groups seeking to protect the environment in the public interest.

We offer a telephone advice service once a week on a Tuesday evening from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.

Due to our limited resources, we cannot assist every group or individual who seeks our help. It is our policy to give initial legal advice to any person or group who meets our Advice Guidelines. When adequate staff and financial resources are available and our Casework Guidelines are met, we may be able to offer further legal assistance or run the case or litigation on behalf of the client.

1. Advice Guidelines

Before making a request for legal assistance, you should consider the following:

  • Is the matter concerned with environmental protection?
  • Is the matter in the public interest? In determining this, the EDO Qld needs to be satisfied that the issue has significance beyond the material or financial interests of a particular individual or group.
  • Is private legal assistance beyond the means of the applicant?

If you answered ‘yes’ to all of these questions, we may be able to offer you legal advice. If your legal issue does not fit these criteria, you may still find useful information about your legal issue in our factsheets or Community Litigants Handbook.

If we can’t help you, we may be able to refer you to someone who can.

EDO Qld only provide legal advice in the area of public interest planning and environment law. We cannot advise you on any private interest legal matter, such as your private rights to sue for damages to persons or property.

Important information about time limits for damages.

To safeguard your private rights to sue for damages to persons or property we strongly advise that you consult a private lawyer specialising in those areas right away as there are strict time limits for commencing such actions.

The time limits are generally 6 years after damage to property and 3 years after personal injury, however, there are other laws that make the limitation periods shorter in some cases. If you do not commence action within the time limits your right of action may be permanently lost.

QPILCH, the Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House, has a range of services providing free assistance in civil law matters. If you have suffered a personal injury because of someone else’s actions, Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private solicitor for advice or representation.

2. Casework Guidelines

The following criteria are used to assist EDO Qld staff in determining an appropriate level of assistance to be provided to clients both as part of the general casework of EDO Qld and for cases identified as suitable vehicles for strategic legal development.

Among the issues to be considered when deciding to take on a case are:

  • The precedent value of the case
  • The capacity and commitment of the client
  • The likelihood of irreversible high impact on environmental values
  • The prospects of success
  • Will the action promote or guarantee preservation, conservation or integrity of species and ecosystems or habitats?
  • Is the matter the subject of considerable public debate or concern?
  • Number of people affected by these issues
  • Failure of authorities to enforce the law
  • Complexity of the case
  • Availability of expert evidence/assistance
  • Does EDO Qld have the capacity to run the case and continue to carry on other business?

 

Are you seeking legal advice in the area of public interest planning and environment law?

Once you have read the Advice and Casework Guidelines above, fill out an INTAKE SHEET (available in Word and PDF) and return the completed form via:

  • email to: edoqld@edoqld.org.au or
  • mail to: 30 Hardgrave Rd West End QLD 4101

We will assess your eligibility, undertake a conflict of interest check and contact you as soon as we can. If you meet our eligibility criteria, we will contact you during advice line hours and provide up to 45 minutes of assistance.

This service is staffed by volunteer solicitors with different types of environment and planning law experience. We will try to be as fair as possible in allocating advice requests in the order in which they are received, but there may be a delay if your query needs to be dealt with by a solicitor with specialist knowledge. Your patience is appreciated.

PLEASE NOTE: Regardless of any request you make to EDO Qld for legal assistance, it remains your responsibility to comply with any time limits, such as time limits to lodge a submission or to file court proceedings.

If you want to provide feedback on EDO services, please send us an email.

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