The Shopfront Youth Legal Centre is based in inner-city Sydney and provides free legal assistance to homeless and disadvantaged young people aged 25 and under. It was established in 1993 and is believed to be Australia’s oldest legal centre for homeless people. It is operated jointly by Herbert Smith Freehills, The Salvation Army and Mission Australia.
The Shopfront is staffed through permanent Herbert Smith Freehills positions, including solicitors and support staff, and a case worker employed by Mission Australia. Herbert Smith Freehills also second one lawyer to The Shopfront each six months.
In addition to providing legal services with a strong focus on defending clients who are charged with criminal offences, the Shopfront also provides legal support to young people in their capacity as victims of crime. Staff provide community legal education and work collaboratively with other youth services to deliver a holistic service responsive to health, employment, housing and education needs. In addition to assisting with around 600 individual cases each year, the centre advocates for systemic change that will benefit all homeless young people.