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Guidelines

5. Contributions

5.2. Reducing or waiving an initial contribution

Initial contributions may be waived or reduced where Legal Aid NSW is satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances.

5.2.1 (a) Where the applicant has requested a reduction of the minimum ($75) contribution

Legal Aid NSW may be satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances where the applicant:

  • is in custody [civil and family law matters]
  • is in long term institutional care or residential rehabilitation care
  • is in immigration detention
  • is a victim of domestic violence
  • has a mental illness or intellectual disability
  • is homeless
  • is a refugee living in the community, or
  • is a child without a financially associated person.

See Contributions Guideline 5.1.5 for information on clients paying by instalments.

Note: There is further discretion to reduce the initial contribution where Legal Aid NSW is satisfied there are exceptional circumstances. Only Directors have the delegation to reduce the contribution.

5.2.1 (b) Where an applicant in custody requests a waiver of the minimum ($75) contribution

Legal Aid NSW will be satisfied there are exceptional circumstances where:

  • the applicant has a local court summary matter, committal, indictable matter or indictable appeal, and
  • the applicant is in custody, and
  • the assessed initial contribution is $75.

See Contributions Guideline 5.1.5 for information on clients paying by instalments.

5.2.2 Where the contribution amount calculated is based on savings or assets the applicant has at the time of applying for legal aid

Legal Aid NSW will consider that savings, shares or any asset that can be converted into cash is available to contribute towards the costs of providing the legal service (ie the calculated contribution amount) unless Legal Aid NSW is satisfied that: either the savings, shares or assets:

  • is earmarked to pay an outstanding bill and failure to pay that bill would mean the applicant is unable to access an essential utility such as water, gas or electricity, or
  • is required to pay immediate essential medical expenses.

See Contributions Guideline 5.1.5 for information on clients paying by instalments.

Note: An asset based contribution may be reduced by the amount paid for a committal grant in the same criminal proceedings.

Note: There is discretion to reduce the initial contribution where Legal Aid NSW is satisfied there are exceptional circumstances. Only Directors have the delegation to reduce the contribution.

5.2.3 Where the contribution amount calculated is based on the applicant's income

Where the contribution amount calculated is based on the applicant’s income, Legal Aid NSW will consider that an applicant's income is available to contribute towards the costs of providing the legal service (ie. the calculated contribution amount).

Where an applicant is unable to pay the calculated contribution amount upfront, Legal Aid NSW will ask the applicant to enter into a payment arrangement so the contribution amount can be paid in instalments.

See Contributions Guideline 5.1.5 for information on clients paying by instalments.

Note: There is discretion to reduce the initial contribution where Legal Aid NSW is satisfied there are exceptional circumstances. Only Directors have the delegation to reduce the contribution.


Date Last Published: 01/07/2019