New pro-bono program promotes legal aid for cancer patients

Cancer patients now have access to no-cost legal assistance, thanks to a new pro-bono program launched by Cancer Council Queensland.

The Cancer Council Legal Referral Service is the first of its kind in Queensland and will allow cancer patients, their carers and families to access assistance on a pro bono basis if they cannot afford to pay for advice.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the service would help to relieve the distress many patients experience as a result of legal matters associated with their diagnosis.

“This new service will allow patients and their families to access information and advice about areas of law that concern cancer patients, including wills and enduring powers of attorney, employment, consumer credit, superannuation, insurance, family law and other matters,” Ms Clift said.

“Pro bono legal assistance is available to patients, as well as carers and bereaved carers where their legal issue relates to the patient’s cancer – for example a carer needing early access to superannuation due to financial hardship brought about by cancer, or a carer experiencing workplace discrimination on the basis of carer responsibilities.

“It is a priority of Cancer Council Queensland to reduce the burden of cancer on all Queenslanders, and the addition of this important service is an important step forward in cancer control.”

The Legal Referral Service is a partnership between Cancer Council and selected law firms, providing cancer patients and their carers with assistance on a pro bono basis if they cannot afford to pay for advice.

Around 28 per cent of calls to Cancer Council’s information and support line, 13 11 20, are for practical support, with many patients affected by loss of income, legal and insurance issues, and broader financial concerns related to their cancer diagnosis.

In Queensland, one in two people will develop cancer in their lifetime and many of these people, their families and carers will require additional support.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland via Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20 or on our website.

For more information, please contact:

Kim Ryan, Senior Media Specialist, Cancer Council Queensland

P. (07) 3634 5239 M. 0488 015 702