Referral Services


A Referral is when a Centre determines that a Service User can be assisted by other organisation/s or individual/s, whether legal or non-legal, and provides the Service User with the contact details and/or support to access the service.

A Referral may be recorded as either a Simple Referral or a Facilitated Referral. 

Simple Referral

A Simple Referral is when the contact details of an individual or organisation are provided and it is up to the Service User to make contact with that individual/organisation. These are sometimes called “cold referrals”.


Facilitated Referral

A Facilitated Referral is when a Service User is directly assisted by the legal service to make contact with another individual or organisation. These are sometimes called “warm referrals”.

A Facilitated Referral may include one or all of the following:

  • making an appointment on behalf of a person
  • contacting the target service to check a person’s eligibility and the availability of service within the appropriate timeframes
  • attending the target service with a person and providing background information or a professional assessment relevant to the provision of the target service
  • taking the Service User’s name and details about the Other Party and the legal problem, and then using this to locate a pro bono solicitor and/or prepare an application for legal aid (see case studies).

How many Referrals?

One Simple Referral may have several referral destinations, for example, the Service User is provided with details of the local court and three private solicitors. A Facilitated Referral will usually only have one destination, because by definition it involves the facilitation of the Service User to a specific service, although if the Centre facilitates the Service User accessing several services at the same time, they can be recorded as different referral destinations on the one Facilitated Referral Service.

Referrals are frequently made at the same time as the provision of discrete services such as Information Service, Legal Advice and Legal Tasks. They are counted separately from the discrete services.

The National Data Standards Manual states that referrals made during the course of a representation service should not be separately counted.  Note that CLASS allows for the recording of referrals as part of any service type including the Ongoing Services, and these are currently being counted in NPA reports.

What is not defined as a Referral?

Incoming referrals – where an external individual or organisation refers a Service User to the Centre – are not counted as a Referral. CLASS does allow you to record where a Service User is referred from.

Internal referrals – where a Service Provider refers a Service User to another individual or section within the same organisation – are not counted as a Referral for the purpose of Referral reports. In CLASS, a Centre could create a custom field “Internal referrals” and then count these in Centre-specific reports. 

Case studies and examples 

Case study – Carmel referred to financial counsellor

Case study – Zoe’s internal referral

Case Study – A pro bono lawyer for Alfredo

Reasons for Referral: see here