More than forty years ago, in 1979, a group of law students identified a gap in the provision of legal services in the inner west of Sydney. Together they established a free legal advice service in a small office in Marrickville Town Hall. The service was staffed on a voluntary basis and specifically targeted the local migrant community. The community response was overwhelming and so marked the creation of NSW’s second community legal centre, two years after Redfern Legal Centre.
The NSW Legal Services Commission provided funding in 1980 for a pilot Children’s Legal Service, paving the way for our present-day Youth Legal Service. By 1984 the Centre employed four part-time solicitors and opened three nights per week. Our team extended to 50 student volunteers, 35 solicitor volunteers and a handful of Greek and Vietnamese interpreters.
From houses on Marrickville Road and on Robert Street, the Centre finally moved, in 1994, to its current premises on Illawarra Road. The Inner West Tenants’ Advice & Advocacy Service was founded the following year. After 10 years of operating the successful Inner West Domestic Violence Court Assistance Scheme, MLC also established in 2009 what is now known as the Domestic Violence Support Service.
Today, Marrickville Legal Centre has grown its reach to extend legal and related services to residents of the inner-west, south-west, southern and northern Sydney, and state-wide.. Our holistic approach has not wavered and continues to pair direct legal guidance with a broader range of social services, which enables people to move forward into a secure future. As part of this approach, we venture to drive policy advocacy in our state’s legal system as we continue to instigate meaningful social change.
Help us celebrate our 40th anniversary in 2019.