The Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) (ALS), also known as the Aboriginal Legal Service, is a community-based organisation in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, established in 1970 to provide legal services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and based in Sydney`s inner suburb of Redfern. It now has offices in New South Wales and ACT, with a head office in Castlereagh Street, Sydney and a branch in Regent Street, Redfern. In 1991, the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) recommended that Aboriginal legal services conduct research on legal reform and the provision of legal services. Als was the first organization to operate a Custody Notification Service (CDS) after its inception in 2000 in response to RCIADIC recommendations.  1970 took place on St. Street. Luke`s Presbyterian Church in Redfern held a public meeting to propose an organization that would become the Indigenous Legal Service.  Indigenous activists and lawyers, including Paul Coe, Isobel Coe, Gary Williams, Gary Foley and Tony Coorey founded the Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) in Redfern, a suburb of Sydney.  J. H. Wooten, then a professor of law at the University of New South Wales and later a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, helped establish the service and draft applications for funding.  From the beginning, it was staffed with volunteers who provided free legal advice and representation to Indigenous Peoples in response to the increase in cases of indigenous harassment and indiscriminate arrest, abuse and intimidation.   They support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men, women and children through legal representation, advice and information, and referral to other support services.
The service was Australia`s first free legal service and set the model for community legal aid, municipal legal centres and Aboriginal services across Australia. The Aboriginal Legal Service was the first such operation in Australia. It began in 1970 with volunteers providing free legal advice and representation to inner Sydney Aboriginal people from a shop window in Redfern. In 2006, the six New South Wales Aboriginal Legal Services and the ACT were merged in response to the funding crisis triggered by the Howard Government that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) had abolished in 2003 and instead introduced a tendering process for the provision of legal aid to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In 1971, the service received state funding to provide a full-time lawyer, field agent, and secretary, and the service was able to open a storefront in Redfern. The Aboriginal Legal Service has been transformed into a non-legal association. Aboriginal participation in the management and delivery of services has been critical to community acceptance. The service was elected to its Board of Directors and hired as field officers for various Indigenous communities to ensure that the provision of Indigenous legal services was culturally appropriate.  Als is legally active in criminal law, custody and child protection law, and family law. It also carries out political and legislative reform work.
 NRCLC provides assistance to women who have experienced domestic violence. A short film was created from one of our projects. Click here to see. The society consists of thirty natives from New South Wales and the ACT, called members of the society. There are ten member companies from each of the three regions in which ALS operates. In 2016, an Indigenous man died in custody in New South Wales; This was the first time an Aboriginal person had died in custody in New South Wales or in the ACT since the introduction of the SNC.  The police did not notify SNC if the law does not require it for the case in question, instead of there being a problem with the service itself.   When Rebecca Maher, 36, was remanded in custody by police for drunkenness, the provisions of Part 16 of the Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 required police to appeal to the NHC only if an Aboriginal person was detained for a crime, and not if she was detained as a drunk person under this law.
Following the coroniale inquest into his death, the New South Wales government made a change in October 2019 to extend the SNC to the custody of drunk people.  See our video below on family law options for Indigenous families and communities: The Custody Notification Service is now regulated under the Nsw Act (cl. 37 of the Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Regulations, 2016), which requires New South Wales police officers to notify SNC of the admission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to custody. but it is not required by law from August 2020 [Update].  The service was successful and has since been cited as a model.  NRCLC offers walk-in appointments for Aboriginal people at the Lismore office Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Ltd is a limited liability company.
Als is a proud Indigenous community organization.