LawAccess NSW > Representing Yourself

Legal skills

If you have a legal problem, you may be able to resolve your matter through​ negotiation or mediation or you may have to go to court or a tribunal.

You can get a lawyer to act for you or you can represent yourself. If you are representing yourself, you may feel anxious or confused about what you need to do.

The legal skills section of this website has some general information that may help you to; resolve your matter informally, communicate with the other person, get legal advice, understand the legal system, the court process and how to prepare legal documents.


    Negotiation is a way of trying to resolve your legal dispute informally, without going to a court or tribunal. You can negotiate by talking to the other person, writing them a letter or both.

    This section has information about:

    • Why try negotiation
    • Ways to negotiate
    • Preparing to negotiate
    • Tips for negotiating
    • Coming to an agreement

    For more information, see Negotiation.


    Mediation is a way of trying to reach an agreement about your legal dispute with the help of another person, called a mediator.

    This section has information about:

    • What is mediation?
    • Why try mediation?
    • How to arrange mediation
    • Preparing for mediation
    • What happens at mediation

    For more information, see Mediation.

    Dealing with your lawyer

    If you have a legal problem, you may need a lawyer to help you. Good preparation before you meet your lawyer can save you time, money and stress and effective communication may avoid a dispute with your lawyer later on.

    This section has information about:

    • What is a lawyer?
    • When do you need a lawyer?
    • The role of a lawyer
    • Finding a lawyer
    • Preparing to meet your lawyer
    • Meeting with your lawyer
    • Legal costs
    • Complaints about a bill
    • Complaints about a lawyer

    For more information, see Dealing with your lawyer.

    Getting ready for court

    Going to court or a tribunal can be confusing. Researching your legal issue and understanding the process can help you prepare.

    This section has information about:

    • Time limits
    • Courts and tribunals
    • Researching the law
    • Gathering evidence
    • Managing your case
    • Arranging interpreters
    • Arranging access for people with disabilities
    • What to do, say and wear at court
    • Legal costs
    • Appeals

    For more information, see Getting ready for court.

    Reading and writing legal documents

    You may have to read and write various documents if you have a legal dispute, particularly if you are going to court.

    This section has information about:

    • Writing skills
    • Reading legal documents
    • Letters
    • Affidavits, statements and statutory declarations
    • Agreements and settlements
    • Emails and faxes

    For more information, see Reading and writing legal documents.

    Making a complaint 

    ​If you believe that you have been treated unfairly or badly you may want to make a complaint.

    ​​This section has information about: 

    • ​​how to make a complaint
    • who to make a complaint to, and
    • the names of complaint bodies, including links to their websites.

    ​​For more information, see Making a complaint.​


    For answers to some commonly asked questions about the above topics, see Frequently asked questions.


    The information in this topic was last updated: July 2014 

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