The Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement is run by a council of Aboriginal people elected by the Aboriginal community. It provides comprehensive legal advice and assistance through its staff lawyers and, where appropriate, private lawyers, to people of Aboriginal descent and their spouses. There is no means test and contributions are not normally required, although a merit test is applied before assistance is given for appeals.
The Movement also employs field officers who are trained in legal procedures and can advise or represent clients in many situations where a lawyer is not present. As well as giving advice and assistance in court, field officers act as links between lawyers and their Aboriginal clients by explaining the law, providing follow-up services to clients with problems and drawing the Movement's attention to areas of concern within the Aboriginal community.
A field officer or staff lawyer is generally available at the Magistrates Court and Youth Court in Adelaide and at the Port Adelaide, Ceduna, Murray Bridge and Port Augusta courts. Field officers are also available twenty four hours a day seven days a week through the Movement's offices for attendance at police stations during interviews to make sure that Aboriginal people fully understand any charges made against them and that they are given their legal rights.
Where the Movement cannot, or for some reason thinks it should not, give legal aid (for example, in disputes between Aboriginal people), cases are referred to the Commission or some other legal assistance service.