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Should You Hire a Defence Lawyer or Self-Represent?

"Most legal advice providers will tell you that self-representation is only advisable for small civil trials."

Before you make the decision to hire a defence lawyer to handle a criminal or civil trial, it’s important to know that you do not need a lawyer to appear in court. You can represent yourself in any of Australia’s courts. Here are some things to consider before making the decision.


When Should You Self-Represent?

While self-representing offers a cheaper alternative to hiring a professional lawyer, most legal advice providers will tell you that self-representation is only advisable for small civil trials. These are trials involving disputes between $25,000 and $100,000.

However during criminal trials, where proceedings can quickly become complex and penalties are severe, self-representation is most definitely a risk. If you do choose to self-represent in court, you should consider hiring a lawyer to provide at least some advice as to the best course of action. For those who cannot afford to hire a lawyer, there are a number of free resources available in Queensland. These resources are listed below.


Resources for Self-Representation

  • LawRight assists people who cannot afford private legal assistance and are not eligible for legal aid. The volunteer lawyers at LawRight provide free legal advice during scheduled appointments to help people represent themselves in the best way possible.
  • Legal Aid Queensland provides legal advice on their website and over the phone to help you in court.
  • You also may find that your local community legal centre provides legal advice. Find your local community legal centre in Queensland.
  • When you self-represent in court, you will be expected to comply with the rules of the court and act accordingly. While most judges will be lenient towards a nonprofessional, you are expected to be familiar with general court proceedings. Our advice is to sit in on trials similar to yours – a right commonly available to the public.


The Benefits of Hiring a Defence Lawyer

Self-representation is a viable and affordable option for a number of cases. That being said, hiring an experienced defence lawyer will alleviate a great deal of stress associated with a court appearance. Defence lawyers will handle the complex paperwork associated with your trial, answer your questions, and most importantly, decide on the defence that will get you the best possible outcome. Read more about the many types of criminal defence.


Services Provided by Guest Lawyers

Guest Lawyers act for all persons charged with criminal offences who are required to appear before the Magistrates and Supreme Court. We also conduct appeals in the Court of Appeal and High Court. We provide assistance for a range of criminal matters.

In addition to representing people all over Queensland, we often travel to other states and territories. Our expert defence lawyers are admitted to practice all over Australia. For a free consultation (including in prisons), please get in touch either via email or by calling (07) 3211 3007.