School of law

Southern Communities Advocacy Legal Education Service (SCALES)

The Southern Communities Advocacy Legal and Education Service Inc. (SCALES) is a community legal centre and the site of the Murdoch University legal clinic and opened its doors in April 1997. SCALES was established by Murdoch University in partnership with the local community. SCALES runs a Clinical Legal Education unit and an Advanced Clinical Legal Education unit.

The clinical programs at SCALES are nationally recognised and are truly the jewel in the crown of the School of Law. Work at SCALES is very 'hands on', with students studying the operation of the legal system being responsible for real files and real clients.

SCALES provides free legal advice, information and representation to low income people living in the Kwinana and Rockingham areas. SCALES also provides a state wide service in the area of immigration. SCALES deals with clients predominantly in the following areas: criminal law; domestic violence; family law; public housing and tenancy; immigration and refugee law; Centrelink; criminal injuries compensation, equal opportunity claims, consumer, contract, debt and civil law.

The main office is located in Rockingham, with offices in the Law School building at Murdoch University ’s South Street campus.

In addition to representing clients, the clinical program includes non-litigation strategies for legal change, like community education, law reform, as well as professional responsibility, a variety of practice-related writing opportunities, and guided reflection on the professional role and its responsibilities to the larger society.

Students at SCALES help provide legal advice and assistance to about 800-900 people a year who otherwise would not have access to assistance. During the course of each academic year SCALES offered clinical opportunities to approximately 50% of each graduating class.

SCALES staff are recognised for their leadership and contributions in the field of clinical legal education, community law and human rights; they are regular planners and presenters at national conferences, and have written influential work. In 2002 SCALES was awarded the HREOC national Human Rights Award in Law in recognition of the excellent client work and the teaching of students about human rights in a social context.

History of SCALES

​SCALES began as an initiative of community groups from the Rockingham and Kwinana areas and the Murdoch University School of Law. SCALES was developed as a community legal centre which was to provide services to a region which had a rapidly growing population and was in need of free community legal services and which could also incorporate a legal clinic for Murdoch University law students.
The centre first opened its doors at its Rockingham office in April 1997. SCALES has the dual aims of providing a service to the community and providing quality practical legal education to Murdoch University law students. The clinic course was modelled upon the clinical course offered through Monash University ’s Springvale Monash Legal Service.

Initially SCALES was funded as a 2 year pilot project by Murdoch University and the Commonwealth Attorney General’s office. After the pilot period SCALES secured ongoing funding through the Commonwealth Legal Aid and Family Services Division of the Attorney General’s Department and from Murdoch University .

SCALES is a member of the Community Legal Centres Association Western Australia, National Association of Community Legal Centres and the National Association of Clinical Educators.

  • Contact details

    SCALES Community Legal Centre
    Suite 3, St Nicholas Community Centre
    14 Council Avenue
    (PO Box 542, ROCKINGHAM WA 6968)
    ROCKINGHAM WA 6168
    T: 08 95500 400
    F: 08 9527 4802
    E: scales@murdoch.edu.au
    W: http://goto.murdoch.edu.au/scales

    Office hours

    Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm
    Friday 9am to noon

    How to find us

    bus stop icon.JPG Bus stop

    SCALES map.JPG