Our Story

The Illawarra Legal Centre (ILC) was established in 1985 and has operated at its current Warrawong premises for many years.

Our employees, volunteer solicitors, clients and the Illawarra community often refer to us as ‘the Legal Centre’ or just ‘the Centre’.

We are very much part of the fabric of the Illawarra

However, the essence of what makes the ILC a real Community Legal Centre is not the old, familiar building in Greene Street, Warrawong, or the offices at one of its outreach services.  It is the hard-working, dedicated team of lawyers, advocates, community legal educators, administrative staff and volunteers that provide the services so urgently needed by the people of the Illawarra and South Coast.

In 1985, when we first opened our doors it was a direct result of community action and support.

The Centre’s sole staff member, a part-time solicitor, was assisted by a local solicitor to develop our inaugural advice roster. This enabled us to to provide free legal advice to the local community, and in particular, to those who had little hope of accessing affordable legal help.

ILC Office & Courtyard

The Centre has grown substantially since 1985 but our primary focus remains on helping those living with disadvantage and marginalisation.

After 30+ years of service to our community and with help of more than 600 wonderful volunteers who have given their time, skills and energy to support our work, we have assisted more than 50,000 clients. 

Each and every day we proceed with the passion that has carried us this far.  We continue to actively protect the human rights of those who are vulnerable and seek to change the structures that systematically undermine those rights.

We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of all our workers, volunteers and pro-bono solicitors.

Our Statement of Purpose

The Illawarra Legal Centre assists people to realise their legal rights. We promote social justice for all, with a particular focus on reaching those who experience social and economic disadvantage in the Illawarra and surrounding areas.

Our Aims

  • Maintain services relevant to the diverse community of the Illawarra and surrounding areas.
  • Provide advice, advocacy and/or referral on a full range of legal matters to the Illawarra and surrounding areas.
  • Undertake policy analysis, review existing laws and to lobby in relation to law reform and legal processes which affect the rights of those in our community.
  • Develop and implement community legal education programs which are both proactive, as well as responsive to community needs.

Our Philosophy

The Illawarra Legal Centre Inc (ILC) is part of a group of community based legal centres throughout NSW and the rest of Australia. Legal Centres define three major areas of their work – Casework, Community Legal Education and Law Reform.

The ILC has a philosophy of making law accessible to those who are disadvantaged in our society due to a lack of finances, education, English language proficiency and those people generally considered in poverty. The ILC recognises that poverty and other forms of disadvantage are about access to power – power over resources, information, relationships and decision making. Along with other community legal centres, the ILC attempts to address this lack of power in relation to the law.

The ILC believes in approaching matters in a non-adversarial way and uses litigation as a last resort. We acknowledge that for many matters the only appropriate resolution available is through the court system.

Where we work

ILC is located in Warrawong, within the Illawarra region, south of Sydney. We also have a Tenancy only office located in Moruya, within the Eurobodalla region.

We provide free legal advice and assistance across the local government areas of Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama.

In addition to these areas our Financial Counselling Service provides assistance in the Shoalhaven and our Tenants & Welfare Rights Services reach as far as Wingecarribee, Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla and Bega Valley.

The ILC is one of nearly 180 independent, non-profit community legal centres across Australia, all of whom are members of the Community Legal Centres Australia.

ILC Catchment Area 2020

Management Committee

The ILC is managed by a Management Committee comprised of representatives from the legal profession, the local community and staff members.  The 2021 Committee members are:

Chairperson – Judy Stubbs

Deputy Chairperson – Michael McGrath

Treasurer – Peter Moggach

Committee Member – Angela Robinson

Committee Member – Christine Donayre

Committee Member – David St.Quintin

Committee Member – Jim Milne

Committee Member – John Corker

Committee Member – Ron Witton

Committee Members – Staff

Catherine O’Neill

Ian Turton

Judi Teesdale

Julie Mason

Louise Farroway

Maroun Germanos

Ron Bryant

Vesna Horley 

Funding Sources

The Illawarra Legal Centre would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank all of our funding bodies for their continued support of our services.

The Illawarra Legal Centre’s core operation sources of funding are:

  • State and Commonwealth Governments through the Community Legal Service Funding Program (CLSP). These grants are administered by Legal Aid NSW.
  • NSW Fair Trading which supports our Tenancy and Financial Counselling programs.
  • Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (DFACS&IA) supports our Financial Counselling Gambling program.