Human Rights Legal Service


Established within QAI in 2008, the Human Rights Legal Service (HRLS) provides specialist legal advice, referral and representation for vulnerable persons with disability in Queensland. 

The HRLS gives priority to assisting persons with impaired capacity who are subject to restrictive practices and involuntary treatment in Queensland. Restrictive practices are those practices defined in the Disability Services Act 2006 (Qld) and the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 (Qld). They include the use of seclusion, containment and chemical, mechanical and/or physical restraint. 

  • The work of the HRLS is guided by a human rights framework which aims to protect and promote the fundamental human rights of HRLS clients, in particular:
  • The right to life, liberty and security of person;
  • Freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and 
  • The right to equality before the law and equal protection of the law. 
From time to time, the HRLS also works on law reform issues and provides continuing legal education services to the legal profession and the community.

Who does the HRLS assist?


The HRLS will assist people who have:

  • An intellectual disability and/or cognitive impairments (including ABI); or 
  • A dual diagnosis of intellectual disability/cognitive impairment plus mental illness; or
  • Profound physical disability;
And require assistance in
  • Restrictive practices including the use of seclusion, containment and chemical, mechanical and/or physical restraint;
  • Guardianship and administration;
  • Forensic Orders and Forensic Orders – Disability;
  • Health care and life sustaining measures;
  • Abuse/neglect and serious injury of people with disabilities.

What type of work does the HRLS do?


The extent of assistance that will be provided by the HRLS is at the discretion of the service, having regard to circumstances such as the needs of the client, the merits of the case and available resources. Examples of HRLS assistance includes:

  • Providing one-off legal advice about a client’s rights and obligations under the relevant legislation;
  • Undertaking legal research and preparing written legal advice; and 
  • Representing the client or the client’s guardian in relevant legal hearings.
The HRLS is a statewide service based in Brisbane. The service receives very modest funding and consequently has limited resources, with little capacity to undertake casework involving travel outside of South East Queensland. Assistance is free of charge and confidential.

How do I get help?

Please contact us on 07 3844 4200. You will be required to provide HRLS with certain personal details which are necessary for the HRLS to deliver its services. All personal information is treated as strictly confidential.

Policies and guidelines:

For more information, please see our guidelines below or contact the HRLS on 07 3844 4200.

HRLS – Guidelines for Assistance




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