People will miss out on essential legal services because the South Australian government has decided to close some of the state's commonwealth-funded community legal centres, a peak body says.
The National Association of Community Legal Centres says the state government has "failed to act" for its people by closing three out of eight of the centres in SA from the start of July.
Chief executive Nassim Arrage says there is already a "huge level" of unmet legal need in SA and the loss of two local services based in Berri and Mount Gambier and a specialist service focused on welfare issues will be a blow.
"If people are going to take up a legal service, it needs to be a local service that is embedded in their community," Mr Arrage said.
The government said on Monday it had been forced to make changes to the sector after the federal government announced it was stripping almost $2 million in funding from it each year compared to 2014-15 levels.
It said the reforms have been informed by a review it commissioned Ernst and Young to do into how community legal services can be offered mostly equitably.
"This has been done in consultation with the sector," Attorney-General John Rau said in a statement on Monday.
Mr Rau said while the commonwealth did announce more funding for the services in its latest budgets, that money is tied to assisting with family violence matters and cannot be used to fund general legal assistance.
But Mr Arrage said most community legal services would fit the criteria for that federal funding, as they deal with a high proportion of family violence issues.