Our Organisation

Serving the community since 1977


Peninsula Community Legal Centre is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that has been providing free legal services to Melbourne’s south-eastern communities since 1977.

The Centre helps people use the law to protect and advance their rights, offering free advice on most legal issues, including family law, family violence, fines, tenancy and rooming house advocacy. Ongoing assistance is targeted to assist clients who are experiencing disadvantages. The Centre undertakes a range of community legal education, community engagement and law reform activities and is active in a number of community and Sector networks.

Peninsula Community Legal Centre utilises the skills and work of volunteers to extend and enhance its operations and service delivery.

Peninsula Community Legal Centre is funded by the following sources:

  • Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department
  • Department of Justice & Community Safety (Vic)
  • Consumer Affairs Victoria
  • Victoria Legal Aid

And also gratefully acknowledges financial support from the following sources:

  • Frankston City Council
  • City of Kingston
  • Glen Eira City Council
  • City of Casey
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire


Delivering justice for our community

Promoting and protecting human rights and equality before the law.


PCLC will …

  • empower and support disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our community to address their legal needs
  • engage and build an ever strengthening and capable legal practice
  • foster and maintain a network of support for the vulnerable and disadvantaged within our community
  • support families in the provision of services that champion child welfare and safety in the eyes of the law
  • deliver a legal service that builds our community toward building one free from family violence



We assist vulnerable and disadvantaged people to obtain justice that they would otherwise be denied.


We treat all people justly, reasonably and in a non-discriminatory manner.


We deliver service based upon our strong moral principles and ethics.


We treat others with dignity and in a manner which demonstrates regard to their feelings, wishes, autonomy and rights.


We work towards strengthening the capacity of all people to understand their rights, pursue their interests and understand their responsibilities.


We are free from external control or influence and are therefore unfettered in our ability to speak for our clients and our community.


We are a leading legal assistance sector organisation committed to providing quality, evidence based solutions to pressing issues facing our community.

These values underpin all that PCLC stands for and does.
They strengthen our organisation and its capacity to deliver on its promises.


  • Deliver high quality and holistic community legal services, ensuring equity, fairness and justice for all.
  • Actively engage in systemic advocacy to promote and enhance human rights and ensure access to justice.
  • Proactively develop the organisation and its employees to effectively respond to changing community needs.
  • Innovatively and responsively address increasingly complex legal and social issues impacting our community.
  • Demonstrate leadership within our community and the legal assistance sector for the benefit of the service.

Reconciliation Action Plan

Our vision for reconciliation

The Peninsula Community Legal Centre believes in a fair and inclusive society that promotes and protects human rights and equality before the law for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Our vision for reconciliation is an Australia where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are restored to a place of equality, dignity, respect, and where they achieve social justice.

We are committed to providing culturally safe, responsive, and welcoming legal services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and to building relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations.

We are committed to actively contributing to Australia’s reconciliation journey, and support and respect the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to self-determination.

Our Story

From its humble beginnings as a volunteer advice and referral service Peninsula Community Legal Centre Inc. (formerly Frankston North Legal Service) has grown over the past four decades to become one of the leading community organisation’s in the region, providing a suite of legal and support services across its vast catchment. The Centre’s inception bore out of concern by local residents. Frankston North was home to many working-class families who were attracted to the area’s low-cost housing. Relationships were often strained as families battled to stay together as they tried to realise the ‘Australian Dream’. Many young people found themselves caught up in the criminal justice system. It is unsurprising then, that the police and community were rife with suspicion and distrust. The residents of Frankston North found themselves at a particular disadvantage for they often could not, due to limited public transport facilities, even utilise the minimal legal services available, for those services habitually operated in Melbourne. The residents recognised the need for a local legal referral point in Frankston North.

The first available service was a weekly evening service, during which a volunteer solicitor would come in and dispense advice for a couple of hours. It was up and running in November 1977. Immediately the service was a success in the local community. In fact, there was very little active advertising in those first years for fear that the service would be unable to meet client demand. Publicity, in those first days, was a real word of mouth affair.

Over time, as the number of volunteer solicitors increased there were about six by 1981, the service became more certain of itself and the number of advice sessions provided each week multiplied. The Centre’s move from being a purely volunteer based organisation to one with paid staff members was unremarkable. It was done in small steps out of necessity more than clear policy.

Since the late seventies, the Centre has received financial backing from a core group of bodies, including state and federal government and Victoria Legal Aid. Today the Centre continues to receive funding from all three levels of government including local government as well as grants from philanthropic trusts.

The Centre has undergone significant periods of transition over the years, it became incorporated in 1984, secured public benevolent status in the early nineties, broadened its services to include outreach services in 1995 and changed its name to Peninsula Community Legal Centre to reflect the region it was servicing. The late 90’s was a pivotal time for the Centre with the move of office to a central location in Frankston, an increase in the Centre’s catchment to incorporate the local government area of Glen Eira after a merger with Southern Community Legal Centre with the development of a Bentleigh branch office and the introduction of specialised programs in child support tenancy and consumer program.

The new millennium saw the establishment of branch offices in Cranbourne and Rosebud and specialist programs in Family Law and Family Violence with duty lawyer services being offered in both the Federal and Magistrates’ Courts.
As the Centre has grown over the past four decades the foundation on which it was built has remained, a commitment and passion to improve access to justice and ensure that the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members of our community are empowered and supported with the provision of free legal services.

Acknowledgement: From Humble Beginnings – A Brief History of Peninsula Community Legal Centre 1977-2007 written by Victoria Erlichster


Connect with us

Subscribe to our Newsletter

    Quick Exit