The history of Northern Community Legal Centre (NCLC) is the history of two community legal centres, Broadmeadows Community Legal Service (BCLS) and Moreland Community Legal Centre (MCLC). These centres amalgamated in 2016 to form the Northern Community Legal Centre.
In 1973, following the establishment of the Fitzroy Legal Service, a group of concerned residents in Broadmeadows got together to establish their own local legal service. This first service was based entirely on volunteer staff and ran only during the evening out of a small office in Olsen Place in Broadmeadows. This early work was inspired by the growing social justice movements of the 1970s, where the aim was to improve access to justice and alleviate social disadvantage.
BCLS has a proud history at the forefront of innovations in family violence service provision in Broadmeadows and surrounding areas. Since 1992 BCLS has provided a duty lawyer service to Broadmeadows Court and has held the role of convenor of the Hume Domestic and Family Violence Network since this time. For over 20 years BCLS has provided input into Inquests, Royal Commissions and legislative reform proposals aimed at improving both legal and community responses to family violence.
In 1981, the Coburg Community Legal Service was established in response to a perceived need in the community. Members of the initial steering committee felt that residents of Coburg, especially migrant and young people, had minimal understanding of the legal system and the laws affecting their lives. Myer Foundation provided establishment funds and Coburg Council provided a desk. The fledgling service assisted over 300 people in the first year, and until 1984 was run by a team of volunteers and two part-time workers.
In 1991, the legal service amalgamated with the Brunswick Coburg Financial Counselling Service - a service begun in 1980 to assist people in financial difficulty or with credit/debt problems. In 2006, the growing service moved location and changed their name to Moreland Community Legal Centre.