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A to Z guide to policies

You can use this A to Z guide to find out whether legal aid is available for a particular legal problem. There is also a summary of which criminal, family and civil law matters legal aid is available for. Find out more about getting legal help.

Legal Aid NSW can only assist you if your case falls within certain policies and guidelines. Find out more about the tests that we apply to determine if you are eligible for legal aid.

  1. Adoption

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal Aid is available for adoption proceedings.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For a grant of legal aid to be made, the following tests must be satisfied:

    • the Means test,
    • Merit Test A, and
    • the Availability of Funds test, and
    • there are exceptional circumstances.
  2. Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO)
    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available in most cases if you are applying for an apprehended domestic violence order (ADVO) against someone.

    Legal aid IS NOT available in ADVO matters if:

    • the application is made by a police officer; or
    • Legal Aid NSW is satisfied that the application for an order is frivolous or vexatious, or
    • there are no reasonable prospects of success.

    Legal aid is only available to defend an apprehended domestic violence order (ADVO) application in exceptional circumstances.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    To apply for an ADVO - The applicant must meet a means test and the availability of funds test.

    To defend an ADVO – The applicant must meet the means test, availability of funds test and there must be exceptional circumstances.

     

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publication:

  3. Apprehended Personal Violence Order
    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is only available to defendants in apprehended personal violence orders (APVO).

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted in these matters, the applicant must satisfy the following tests:

    • Means Test
    • Availability of Funds test and either:
      • the applicant for legal aid is a protected person in associated apprehended domestic violence proceedings or
      • the applicant has a history or a psychiatric or mental illness or an intellectual disability, and
      • other options for resolving the dispute have either been unsuccessful or are not appropriate in the circumstances.
  4. Assault

    Is legal aid available?

    Criminal assault - If a person has been charged with criminal assault, legal aid may be available in the local court or the district court.

    Which tests apply?

    For local court criminal matters, the applicant must satisfy the following tests:

    • Means test
    • Availability of Funds Test; and either
      • the offence carries a term of imprisonment as an available penalty, or
      • there are exceptional circumstances.
  5. Bail application

    Local Court

    Is legal aid available?

    • Legal aid is available for people in custody, to make a first appearance bail application in the Local Court.
    • Legal aid is also available for subsequent applications from people in custody or applications from people not in custody. There is a duty solicitor who can assist at every Local Court.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    • If it is a first appearance bail application, no Means Test is applied.
    • For subsequent applications, the applicant must meet the Means Test and the Availability of Funds Test.

    Supreme Court

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for bail applications in the Supreme Court.

    Which tests apply?

    For legal aid to be granted in these types of matters, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • Means Test
    • Merit Test
    • Availability of Funds Test

     

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publications:

  6. Bankruptcy

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is not available for bankruptcy proceedings to either the creditor or the debtor
  7. Car accidents – see also Personal Injury

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is not available for damage to any property by a motor vehicle.

    Legal Aid is not available to applicants for personal injury matters.


    Many private solicitors represent people injured in car accidents on a no win/no fee basis. The Law Society of NSW Solicitor Referral Service can refer you to a private solicitor in your area. Tel: 9926 0300 or 1300 888 529 (outside Sydney).

     
    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publication:
     
  8. Care & Protection (Child welfare)

    Is legal aid available?

    If the Department of Family and Community Services makes an application about the family to the Children's Court, legal aid may be available for particular types of applications.

    Legal aid is available for care and protection proceedings under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW) in the Children's Court and the legal aid applicant is:

    • is a person who has parental responsibility for the child or young person or
    • has had an aspect of parental responsibility removed by order of a court

    Legal aid is available for care and protection proceedings under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW) in the Children's Court where the legal aid applicant is:

    • a person who is significant to the care, welfare and well-being of the child or young person and
    • who has a genuine concern for the safety, welfare and well-being of the child or young person

    Legal aid is available to a child or young persons (or for a child representative appointed by the court) for care and protection proceedings in the Children's Court.

    Legal aid is available for care and protection appeals in the District, Supreme and High Court.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    The tests that must be satisfied for aid to be granted in these matters depends on the category of matter (refer to Family Guideline 2.14). However, generally the applicant must satisfy the following tests:

    • Means Test
    • Merit Test A
    • The Availability of Funds Test

    In addition to this, any person who does not have parental responsibility or from whom an aspect of parental responsibility has been removed must also satisfy Legal Aid NSW that:

    • there is a benefit to the child or young person that might be gained by the applicant receiving legal aid.

    There are no tests applicable where the applicant for legal aid is a child or young person or a child representative appointed by the court.

    Care & Protection – external mediation

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for external care and protection mediation to a person, a child or a young person who has a grant of legal aid for current Children's Court proceedings under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act, 1998 (NSW).

    Which tests apply?

    For legal aid to be granted in these matters, Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that the Court has referred the legal aid applicant to external care and protection mediation.

    In addition to this, applicants other than children or young person's must also satisfy:

    • the Means Test
    • the Availability of Funds Test.

    Care & Protection – contact dispute mediation

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for:

    • All children and young people who are the subject or potential subject of a section 86 contact application to be represented at the mediation
    • Other parties to be represented at the mediation, but only if certain criteria are met, including that the applicant for aid is at significant disadvantage

    Which tests apply?

    No tests apply for children and young people.

    For a grant of legal aid to be made to other parties the following tests must be satisfied:

    • the Means Test
    • Merit Test A
    • the Availability of Funds Test, and
    • it is reasonable to provide representation, and  
    • the applicant is at significant disadvantage

    See Policy Online for further details on care and protection policies

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publication:

  9. Child abduction

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for court orders to locate and recover children who have been abducted as part of a family dispute. If there is a risk children will be taken out of the country you can get urgent legal advice from Legal Aid NSW and within 24 hours, get a court order to have the child/ren placed on the Airport Watchlist so they will not be able to leave the country.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • Means Test
    • Merit Test
    • Availability of Funds Test.
  10. Child support and child maintenance

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for child support and child maintenance matters:

    • in relation to court proceedings under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) for child maintenance matters where an administrative assessment cannot be made (eg over-18 child maintenance).
    • for court proceedings arising under the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 (Cth) or the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 (Cth)
    • child support parentage matters
    • Appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in relation to child support and maintenance decisions
    • Appeals to the court in relation to child support and maintenance decisions on a question of law from a decision of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal
    • Arrears of spousal or child maintenance or child support.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant (including child) must meet the following eligibility tests:

    • Means Test
    • The Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test B
    • The Availability of Funds Test

    In addition, the following requirements apply to specific types of proceedings:

    • For child maintenance matters, where the applicant is a child, Legal Aid NSW must also be satisfied that the child is the most appropriate person to seek the order.
    • For appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that the applicant for legal aid is unable to represent themselves before the relevant court/tribunal.
    • For Child Support parentage matters:

    where the application is for a declaration under s106A of the Child Support Assessment Act, Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that:

    • the Legal Aid NSW Child support Service or some other appropriate service (eg a CLC) cannot assist, and
    • either party denies that the other party is the child's parent, and
    • the other party's whereabouts are known or there are reasonable grounds for obtaining an order for substituted service on that party, and
    • there is good reason to believe that the other party has the capacity to pay child support.

    where the application is for a declaration under s107 of the Child Support Assessment Act, Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that:

    • the Legal Aid NSW Child Support Service or some other appropriate service (eg a CLC) cannot assist, and
    • either party denies that the other party is the child's parent, and
    • the applicant provides adequate reasons to oppose a finding of parentage.

    See also: parentage testing

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publications:

  11. Children's Court - Criminal matters

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available to children for criminal matters conducted in the Children's Court.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    There is no Means or Merit Test applied. For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the Availability of Funds Test.

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publication:

  12. Children's criminal matters other than Children's Court

    Is legal aid available?

    • Legal aid is available to children for appeals to the District Court from a magistrate's decision.
    • Legal aid is available for appeals from the Local Court to the Supreme Court.
    • Legal aid is available to children for committal proceedings. (No Merit Test applies)
    • Legal aid is available to children for trials and sentence matters in the District and Supreme Court. (No Merit Test applies)
    • Legal aid is available to children for appeals to the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal and the High Court.

    Which tests apply?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must meet the following tests:

    • the Means Test
    • Merit Test A (see above), and
    • the Availability of Funds Test.

    Note: In applying the Means Test in children's criminal matters, the test is applied to the income and assets of the child only (not that of Financially Associated Persons, eg parents).

  13. Circle Court

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid may be available to a person who is participating in a restorative justice program where the Court makes an order in relation to Circle Sentencing.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • Means Test
    • The Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Availability of Funds Test, and
    • Legal Aid is satisfied that it is appropriate in the particular circumstances of the matter that the applicant has legal representation.
  14. Civil Liberties

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for matters where there has been a breach of a person’s civil liberties. 

    Note: Legal aid is not available for civil assault matters where no issue concerning a breach of the applicant's civil liberties has been raised.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • Means Test
    • Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test and the
    • Availability of Funds Test.

    Note: As of January 2013 funds are not available for certain types of civil liberties matters until further notice. See Policy 6.6 for details.

  15. Committals (Local Court)

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for committal proceedings, including for:

    • Case conferencing
    • Applications under ss91 and 93 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW) (only includes committal matters charged on or after 1 January 2006), and
    • Committal hearings.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must meet the following tests;

    • Means Test
    • Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Availability of Funds Test.

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publication:

  16. Compulsory schooling orders

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available to

    • parents and
    • children, where the order is directed at the child (as opposed to the parent)

    for proceedings in relation to compulsory schooling order matters under the Education Act 1990 (NSW) in the Children's Court.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following eligibility tests:

    • the Means Test and
    • the Availability of Funds Test

    Children applicants need only satisfy the Availability of Funds Test.

  17. Commonwealth benefits, including pensions, allowances and social security

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available where a decision has been made which affects the receipt or amount of a Commonwealth pension, benefit or allowance.

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests:

    • Means Test
    • Unpaid Contributions Test.
    • Merit Test A
    • Availability of Funds Test.

    In addition, the following requirements must be met in relation to specific types of matters:

    For matters in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal:

    • Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that either;
      • the applicant could potentially incriminate themselves or
      • the case is complicated or
      • the case requires significant medical evidence or it would be unreasonable to expect the applicant to represent themselves due to a special circumstance or
      • the appeal raises important or complex questions of law.

    For appeals from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in relation to pension, allowances and social security matters. Legal Aid NSW must also be satisfied that there is a strong prospect of substantial benefit being gained by the applicant.

    Link to Policy Online

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publication:

  18. Consumer protection

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for certain types of consumer protection matters including, for example:

    • Credit matters (including mortgages and guarantees)
    • Matters relating to unconscionable contracts and unfair contract terms
    • Matters relating to the purchase of goods and services
    • Matters relating to insurance contracts and superannuation, and
    • Matters involving a claim or cause of action against a person retained to advise and/or represent a client for the purpose of a consumer transaction
    • Link to Policy Online

      Which tests apply ?

      For external dispute resolution, the applicant must meet the following tests;
      • Means Test
      • The Unpaid Contributions Test
      • Merit Test
      • Availability of Funds Test.
    • For lodging a complaint or for court proceedings, the applicant must meet the following tests;
      • Means Test
      • The Unpaid Contributions Test
      • Merit Test
      • Availability of Funds Test and
      • The applicant must show that the public interest would be advanced.
    • For court proceedings, Legal Aid NSW must also be satisfied that the applicant participated in internal and external dispute resolution (where available) and the parties have not resolved the dispute.

    Under this policy, legal funding is not available for tenancy matters.

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publications:

  19. Contract disputes

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for disputes with banks over loan contracts, loan agreements, mortgages and credit contracts. However, aid is not available if the loan was for commercial or investment purposes. Free legal advice is available at most Legal Aid NSW offices.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • Means Test
    • The Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test
    • The Availability of Funds Test.
  20. Coronial Inquests

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid may be available for a coronial inquest if

    • it is a preliminary step to civil proceedings for which aid is available or
    • the public interest would be advanced if the applicant was represented at the inquest eg. when a person dies in police custody, there is a death of a child in a childcare centre or there is a death of a person in a psychiatric hospital.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • Means Test
    • Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A
    • Availability of Funds Test, and
    • Legal Aid NSW is satisfied the applicant has reasonable prospects of being granted leave by the Coroner to be represented at the inquest.

    If representation at the inquest is a preliminary step to civil proceedings, the civil proceedings must be one where legal aid is available.

  21. Court of Criminal Appeal

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for matters in the Court of Criminal Appeal where there is a reasonable chance of getting a conviction overturned or a reduction in sentence.

    Legal aid is also available for appeals to the Court of Criminal Appeal.

    Legal aid for a retrial following an appeal is only available in exceptional circumstances.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • Means Test
    • The Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A
    • Availability of Funds Test.
    • Legal Aid NSW must also be satisfied that it is an appropriate use of limited public legal aid funds.
  22. Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act 2000

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for matters where the applicant is contesting a matter commenced by way of an application or summons made under the Crimes (Forensic Procedure) Act 2000 (NSW) when Legal Aid NSW is satisfied that:

    • there are not reasonable grounds to believe;
      • the person is a suspect and
      • the person committed the offence for which the sample is required, and
      • the forensic procedure would provide sufficient evidence to confirm or to disprove the person committed the relevant offence or
    • it is not justified in all the circumstances to carry out the forensic procedure or
    • the legal aid applicant is a child or otherwise lacks capacity to consent to the procedure or there are exceptional circumstances.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • Means Test
    • The Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Availability of Funds Test
  23. Criminal Appeals, from the Local Court

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for appeals from the Local Court to the:

    • District Court, and
    • Supreme Court where a Magistrates decision is the grounds of appeal.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted in these matters, the applicant must satisfy:

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A
    • the Availability of Funds Test
    • that it is an appropriate expenditure of limited public legal aid funds
    • that the matter is a type of matter for which legal aid is available in Local Court proceedings.

    In addition to this, for legal aid to be granted in appeals against severity of sentence to the District Court, the appeal must be against a term of imprisonment or Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied there are exceptional circumstances.

  24. Criminal Appeals - NSW Court of Criminal Appeal and High Court

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for appeals to the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal or the High Court, which includes appeals under s5F of the Criminal Appeals Act 1912 (NSW) and appeals following a retrial.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted in these matters, the applicant must satisfy:

    • the Means Test
    • Merit Test A
    • the Availability of Funds Test
    • that it is an appropriate expenditure of limited public legal aid funds.

    In addition to this, for legal aid to be granted in appeals under s5F of the Criminal Appeals Act 1912 (NSW), the applicant must also satisfy that there is a significant issue of public interest and the circumstances are sufficiently exceptional to justify a grant of aid.

    For legal aid to be granted in appeals following a retrial, in addition to the tests listed above, Legal Aid NSW must also be satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances.

  25. Criminal indictable matters

    Legal aid is available for criminal indictable matters listed for trial or sentence in the Supreme Court or District Court.  Legal aid is available for the following types of matters:

    • bail applications (this does not include Supreme Court Bail applications)
    • mentions and adjournments
    • sentence matters including breaches of recognisance, and
    • criminal trials.

    For legal aid to be granted, the following tests must be satisfied:

    • Means Test and
    • Availability of Funds Test.

     

  26. Debt

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal Aid NSW provides free legal advice for credit and debt matters.  

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publications:

  27. Discrimination

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid may be available for discrimination which may occur:

    • within the education system
    • in the provision of goods and services
    • in the provision of accommodation.

    Discrimination may include matters relating to:

    • sexual discrimination
    • race discrimination
    • gender discrimination
    • age discrimination
    • discrimination on the basis of disability
    • sexual harassment
    • discrimination on the basis of health
    • discrimination on the basis of marital status.

    Legal aid is available for discrimination matters which are before the Equal Opportunity Division of NCAT. Legal aid is also available for an appeal from the Equal Opportunity Division of NCAT

    Legal aid is not available under this policy for matters which are about intra association disputes, for example, between members of unions or clubs, or for defamation proceedings.

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publications:

  28. Divorce and nullity of marriage

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for a court application relating to the divorce or nullity of marriage.

    Link to policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must meet the following tests;

    • Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test B
    • the Availability of Funds Test and
    • Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that:
      • special circumstances exist, and
      • the court application is imperative, and
      • the applicant is at special disadvantage, and
      • certain aspects of the court application have a complexity warranting legal aid, and because of this complexity it would not be reasonable to expect the applicant for aid to conduct the proceedings.

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publications:

  29. DNA parentage testing

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for DNA testing and legal representation where there is a dispute about parentage and legal aid has been granted for parenting or child support proceedings.

    See also Child support/Child maintenance

  30. DNA testing - serious offenders and suspects

    Is legal aid available?

    The police may take a DNA sample from a person convicted of a serious indictable offence. Legal Aid NSW Prisoners Legal Service can provide advice on this procedure.

    The police may also take a DNA sample from a suspect.  Legal aid is available in certain circumstances where a Court Attendance Notice made under the Crimes (Forensic Procedure) Act 2000 (NSW) is being contested in the Local Court.

    If the person is under 18 years, the police need a court order before taking the sample. The Legal Aid NSW Youth Hotline 1800 10 18 10 can provide advice.

    Which tests apply?

    For an applicant contesting a matter under the Crimes (Forensic Procedure) Act 2000, Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that:

    • There are not reasonable grounds to believe:
      • The person is a suspect, and/or
      • The person committed the offence for which the sample is required, and/or
      • The forensic procedure would provide sufficient evidence to confirm or to disprove the person committed the relevant offence, or
    • It is not justified in all the circumstances to carry out the forensic procedure, or
    • The applicant is a child or otherwise lacks capacity to consent to the procedure or
    • There are exceptional circumstances.

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must meet the Means Test , the Unpaid Contributions test and the Availability of Funds test.

  31. Domestic violence – see Apprehended Domestic Violence Order
  32. Driving and traffic offences
    • Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is only available for driving and traffic offences in very limited circumstances.

    In most cases legal aid is not available to people pleading guilty to a charge of driving with a Prescribed Content of Alcohol (PCA) unless it is likely that they will go to gaol.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must meet the;

    • Means Test
    • Availability of Funds Test and either
    • there is a real possibility of a term of imprisonment being imposed on the applicant, or
    • there are exceptional circumstances.

    Note: There may be exceptional circumstances if the matter involves the death of a person even if there is no real possibility of a term of imprisonment.

    There may be exceptional circumstances where the applicant is under 18 years.

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publications:

  33. Drug Court matters

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available to applicants for matters before the Drug Court sitting as the Drug Court or another court of law.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    Legal Aid solicitors provide legal assistance to all defendants appearing before the Drug Court. There is no means test applied in Drug Court matters.

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must meet the

    • Availability of Funds Test
  34. Employment

    Is legal aid available?

    Employment - unfair dismissal
    Legal aid is available to a person at social disadvantage for unfair dismissal proceedings in the Fair Work Commission.

    Employment - recovery of unpaid entitlements
    Legal aid is available to a person at social disadvantage for proceedings related to the recovery of employment entitlements in the Chief Industrial Magistrates Court or the Federal Circuit Court.

    Employment - general protections under the Fair Work Act
    Legal aid is available to a person at social disadvantage seeking relief under the General Protection provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

    Employment - unfair contracts
    Legal aid is available to a person at social disadvantage who has been employed under an unfair contract of employment.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must be at social disadvantage and must meet the;

    • Means Test
    • Unpaid Contributions Test 
    • Merit Test
    • Availability of Funds Test
    • At Social Disadvantage Test 

     

  35. Environmental matters

    Land and Environment Court prosecutions

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available to defendants who are to be prosecuted in the Land and Environment Court under environmental protection legislation including the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (NSW).

    Which tests apply?
    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must meet the;

    • Means Test
    • The Unpaid Contributions Test, and
    • There is a real possibility of a term of imprisonment being imposed or
    • There are exceptional circumstances.
  36. Extended supervision orders, continuing detention orders, post-conviction orders, control orders and serious crime prevention orders

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for;

    • Opposing an application made by the Attorney General under the Crimes (High Risk Offenders) Act 2006 (NSW) – No Merit Test applies.
    • Appeals the Crimes (High Risk Offenders) Act 2006 (NSW) against an extended supervision order or continuing detention order
    • Defending or applying for a variation or revocation of an extended supervision order or continuing detention order under the Crimes (High Risk Offenders) Act 2006 (NSW)
    • Opposing an application for a post-conviction order that follows a finding of guilt or a conviction for a criminal offence. For legal aid to be available, Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that the conditions of the order unreasonably restrict the applicant’s personal freedom and there must be reasonable prospects either of successfully opposing the application or of the application being granted on amended terms that place less restriction on the liberty of the applicant.
    • An application to vary, or appeal a post-conviction order following a finding of guilt or a conviction for a criminal offence. For legal aid to be available, Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that the conditions of the order unreasonably restrict the applicant’s personal freedom
    • Opposing applications made under the Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act 2012. For legal aid to be available, Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that the conditions of the order unreasonably restrict the applicant’s personal freedom and there must be reasonable prospects either of successfully opposing the application or of the application being granted on amended terms that place less restriction on the liberty of the applicant.
    • Applications to vary, revoke or appeal orders made under ss14 and 19 of the Crimes (Criminal Organisations Control) Act 2012. For legal aid to be available, Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that the conditions of the order unreasonably restrict the applicant’s personal freedom.
    • Opposing an application under the Crimes (Serious Crime Prevention Orders) Act 2016 (NSW) – No Merit Test applies, and if the applicant is a corporation, Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied there are exceptional circumstances.
    • Applicants whose interests may be affected by the making of a serious crime prevention order against another person, and persons who were a party to the original proceedings so that they can be heard on an application to vary or revoke an order under the Crimes (Serious Crime Prevention Orders) Act 2016 (NSW).
    • Appealing or defending or applying for a variation or revocation of a serious crime prevention order under the Crimes (Serious Crime Prevention Orders) Act 2016 (NSW). If the applicant is a corporation, Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied there are exceptional circumstances.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply?

    Except as noted above, for legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • Means Test
    • Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test
    • Availability of Funds Test
  37. Extradition proceedings

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for certain types of proceedings under the Extradition Act 1988 (Cth), which include;

    • Extradition matters under section 19 and
    • An appeal under s21 in relation to a section 19 order.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A
    • the Availability of Funds Test
  38. Family dispute resolution

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available to:

    • parents, and
    • persons who are not parents

    for family dispute resolution (FDR) about parenting matters under the Family Law Act, 1975 (Cth).

    If your parenting matter could be or is being conducted with your property settlement matter under the Family Law Act, 1975 (Cth), legal aid is only available for your parenting matter if:

    • the applicant has been granted or is eligible for legal aid for the property settlement proceedings, or
    • there are exceptional circumstances.

    Legal Aid NSW may grant for FDR at any stage of a matter including:

    • before court proceedings have been started
    • after court proceedings have been started, or
    • after final orders have been made.

    Legal aid is also available for FDR for legal aid applicants seeking an order for spousal or de facto maintenance or to increase spousal or de facto maintenance and in relation to property settlement in certain limited circumstances.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted in these matters, the applicant must satisfy:

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test B
    • the Availability of Funds Test, and
    • it is appropriate for the applicant to attend mediation

    In addition to this, persons who are not parents must also satisfy Legal Aid NSW that:

    • they are significant to the care, welfare and development of the relevant child, and
    • it is in the child's best interests

    Where orders are sought to vary or discharge an existing parenting order or to set aside a registered parenting plan, Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that one of the following circumstances apply:

    • there has been a material change in circumstances since the parenting orders were made, or
    • the court application is imperative, eg when a change in circumstances makes it impossible for the legal aid applicant to comply with the original court order.

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publications:

  39. Family law - contempt of court and breach of court orders

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for a family law matter where there has been contempt of court.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted in these matters the applicant must satisfy the following tests:

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test,
    • Merit Test B
    • the Availability of Funds Test

    The applicant for legal aid must be the respondent in the proceedings and Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that there is a real possibility of a term of imprisonment being imposed.

  40. Fines

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal Aid NSW can only provide legal advice on these matters. Call LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 589 to find a service near you or use our map to find your closest Legal Aid NSW service. 

     

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publication:

  41. Guardianship

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for the following matters under the Guardianship Act 1987 (NSW):

    To an applicant who is the subject of the proceedings under the Act and where they have been granted leave to be represented at the Guardianship Division of NCAT. The following tests must be satisfied:

    • the Availability of Funds Test, and
    • the Tribunal has grated leave for the person to be represented.

    For proceedings in the Guardianship Division of NCAT about seeking consent to carry out Special Treatment on an adult or child. Where the applicant is a child, there is no means or merit test applied.

    where the applicant is a carer of the person who is subject of the proceedings, or an affected person, the following tests must be satisfied:

    • the Means Test,
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A
    • the Availability of Funds Test, and
    • the tribunal has granted leave for the applicant to be represented.
    • In addition, an applicant who is an affected person must be a party to the proceedings.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    Except as noted above, the applicant must satisfy the following test;

    • Availability of Funds Test

    Appeals against a decision of the Guardianship Division of NCAT

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available to a person who is under a guardianship order made under the Guardianship Act 1987 (NSW) and who is appealing to the Appeals Panel of NCAT and the Supreme Court against a decision of the Guardianship Division of NCAT.

    Which tests apply?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • Merit Test A
    • the Availability of Funds Test

    Trustee and Guardian Act 2009 (NSW)

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for the following matters under the NSW Trustee and Guardian Act 2009 (NSW) ;

    • Application for an Order by the Supreme Court for management of affairs (s44);
    • Declaration and Order by the Supreme Court where a person is missing (s54).

    Which tests apply?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • Means Test
    • Merit Test
    • Availability of Funds Test

    Revocation of financial management order or guardianship orders

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available to an applicant seeking revocation of an existing financial management order or guardianship order.

    Which tests apply?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests:

    • Merit Test
    • Availability of Funds Test
  42. Housing – Loss of home

    see also Tenancy

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid may be available in certain circumstances where there is likelihood that the applicant may lose their home in the following situations;

    • as a direct result of the proceedings for which the applicant is seeking aid, for example;
      • ejectment proceedings
      • eviction proceedings
      • defending matters relating to a mortgagee's repossession of the applicant's home
      • proceedings relating to mortgage disputes
      • family provision matters under Chapter 3 of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW) in circumstances where there is a likelihood that the applicant may lose their home.

    Note: Legal aid is not available for matters where the applicant losing their home is an indirect result of the proceedings for example, claims for debt due where the applicant's home may have been sold to meet a judgment or adverse costs order.

    • if there is a likelihood that the applicant will lose their home and Legal Aid NSW considers that it is necessary to take proceedings to protect the applicant's interest in the home in which they normally reside. This may include family disputes where there is likelihood the applicant may lose their home where the person has contributed financially or otherwise to the home.

    Legal aid is not available for building disputes or disputes which result from commercial or investment transactions conducted by the applicant even if there is likelihood that the applicant could lose their home.

    Legal aid is not available for ordinary disputes between family members over property and money.

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publications:

  43. Human rights

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for public interest human rights matters where:

    • The matter is of significant wider public interest and
    • Raises significant human rights issues.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must be at special disadvantage and must meet the;

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A
    • the Availability of Funds Test

    Note: Where the applicant is applying for legal aid to make submissions to the Minister in relation to a cancellation of a visa under s501 of the Migration Act 1958, Legal Aid NSW must also be satisfied that the applicant is either at special disadvantage or is illiterate or unable to communicate in either written or oral English.

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publication:

  44. Immigration

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for limited types of migration matters.

    Legal aid is available for representation in migration matters, including refugee matters, in the Federal Court, the Federal Magistrates Court or the High Court.

    Legal aid is only available in the following circumstances:

    • If there are differences of judicial opinion that relate to a substantive issue in dispute that has not been settled by the Full Court of the Federal Court or the High Court, or
    • The proceedings seek to challenge the lawfulness of detention, but this does not include a challenge to a decision about a visa or a deportation order, or
    • Where there is an arguable error of law.


    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A
    • the Availability of Funds Test.

    Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme (IAAAS) contract

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for immigration advice and application assistance under the IAAAS contract between the Commonwealth of Australia and Legal Aid NSW.

    Which tests apply?

    For legal aid to be granted, the advice provided under the IAAAS contract will be provided by an in-house solicitor and the applicant must satisfy the eligibility criteria set out in the IAAAS contract.

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publications:

  45. Independent Children's Lawyer

    Is legal aid available?

    When families separate and go to court, an independent children's representative may be appointed for the child to advise the judge on what the child's wishes are and what is likely to be the best result for the child.

    Legal aid is available for an independent children's lawyer in court proceedings if:

    • a court makes an order for the appointment of an independent children's lawyer and asks Legal Aid NSW to arrange for an independent children's lawyer to provide the separate representation and
    • Legal Aid NSW decides that it is reasonable to provide a grant of aid for the independent children's lawyer.

    Legal Aid NSW is not bound to make a grant of aid for an independent children's lawyer.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    If an independent children's lawyer is appointed there is no means or merit test applied when determining the grant of aid.

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publications:

  46. Insurance

    Legal aid may be available for disputes with insurance companies. See Consumer Protection matters.

  47. Local Court - Criminal matters

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for criminal proceedings in the Local Court in the following circumstances;

    • Court attendance notice issued by the Police or Centrelink
    • Court attendance notice issued by a person other than the Policy or Centrelink

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • Means Test
    • Availability of Funds Test; and
    • There is a real possibility of a term of imprisonment being imposed or
    • There are exceptional circumstances.

    Note: Legal aid is not available for Local Court defended hearings where the defence is frivolous or has no possible prospects of success.

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publications:

  48. Local Court - Civil matters

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is not generally available for civil matters in the Local Court.

  49. Local Court - Appealing a decision

    Appeals to the District Court

    Legal aid is available in certain circumstances to appeal a decision of the Local Court to the District Court sitting in its criminal jurisdiction.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A
    • the Availability of Funds Test, and
    • It is a type of matter for which legal aid is available in the Local Court proceedings, and
    • Legal Aid NSW is satisfied that it is an appropriate expenditure of limited public funds, and
    • If it is a severity appeal it must be an appeal against a term of imprisonment or Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances.

    Appeals to the Supreme Court

    Legal aid is available for appeals from decisions of magistrates in the Local Court to the Supreme Court.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A
    • the Availability of Funds Test, and
    • It is a type of matter for which legal aid is available in the Local Court proceedings, and
    • Legal Aid NSW is satisfied that it is an appropriate expenditure of limited public funds

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publication:

  50. Medical negligence

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is not available for medical negligence matters.

  51. Mental health

    The Mental Health Advocacy Service (02- 9747 6155) provides free legal advice and assistance about mental health law. The service represents people in inquiries that relate to their detention and treatment in mental health facilities and the community, and the management of their money. They also provide representation for people with other disabilities before the Guardianship Tribunal.

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for the following matters under the Mental Health Act, 2007 (NSW):

    • Mental Health Inquiry before the Mental Health Review Tribunal
    • Involuntary patients before the Mental Health Review Tribunal
    • Further review of an involuntary patient before the Mental Health Review Tribunal
    • Forensic patients before Mental Health Review Tribunal
    • Matters under the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act
    • Applications for renewal of a Community Treatment Order
    • Community Treatment Order application made from the community
    • Appeals to the Mental Health Review Tribunal – assessable person
    • Appeals to the Mental Health Review Tribunal – involuntary patients
    • Appeals against Community Treatment Orders
    • Appeals to the Supreme Court
    • Application to revoke an order under NSW Trustee and Guardian Act 2009
    • Appeals against orders under the NSW Trustee and Guardian Act
    • Review of a decision of the NSW Trustee
    • Review of a decision of the Public Guardian
    • Appeal by a primary carer against a continuing detention order
    • Appeal by a primary carer against an order under the NSW Trustee and Guardian Act
    • Review of a decision of the NSW Trustee or Public Guardian by primary carer

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted in the majority of these matters, the following tests must be satisfied:

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A
    • the Availability of Funds Test.

    Applicants in the following matters only need to satisfy the Availability of Funds Test:

    • Mental Health Inquiry before the Mental Health Review Tribunal
    • Involuntary patients before the Mental Health Review Tribunal
    • Forensic patients before Mental Health Review Tribunal
    • Matters under the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act
    • Appeals to the Mental Health Review Tribunal – assessable person

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publications:

  52. Mortgage disputes

    See also Housing – loss of home

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid may be available in certain circumstances for disputes over a mortgage debt if the applicant is at risk of losing their home.  

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A
    • the Availability of Funds Test

    For more information see the following Legal Aid NSW publications:

  53. National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) matters

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid may be available for:

    • representation in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for review of a reviewable decision under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013, and
    • an appeal from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in relation to a reviewable decision under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests:

    • the means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A
    • the Availability of Funds Test
  54. Neighbourhood disputes

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is not available for neighbourhood disputes.

  55. Parenting orders/Children's orders

    see also Family Dispute Resolution

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available to parents for court proceedings about parenting matters under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). This includes orders sought in relation to who the child/ren will live with, who they will spend time with and who they will communicate with.

    Legal aid is also available to people who are not parents for court proceedings about parenting matters under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted in a parenting matter, the following tests must be satisfied:

    • the Means Test
    • Merit Test B
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • The Availability of Funds Test, and
    • there is a dispute about a substantial issue.

    For legal aid to be granted for court proceedings, Legal Aid NSW must also be satisfied that:

    • the applicant has a certificate under s60I of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) in relation to the dispute, or
    • the matter is urgent.

    For legal aid to be granted to people who are not parents, Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that:

    • the applicant for legal aid is significant to the care, welfare and development of the child
    • it is in the child's best interests.

    Parenting orders – variation

    Is legal aid available?

    For legal aid to be granted for proceedings to vary parenting orders, the above requirements must be satisfied, and

    Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that one of the following circumstances apply:

    • there has been a material change in circumstances since the parenting orders were made, or
    • the court application is imperative eg when a change in circumstances makes it impossible for the legal aid applicant to comply with the original court order.
  56. Part 7 of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act

    Legal aid is available for the following proceedings under Part 7 of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001 (NSW):

    i) Initial applications under Part 7 which includes:

    • petitions to the Governor for a review of a conviction or sentence
    • applications to the Supreme Court for an inquiry into a conviction or sentence, and
    • applications to an appropriate Review Panel established to review a conviction or sentence.

    ii) Proceedings in the Court of Criminal Appeal under Part 7 for:

    • a matter that is referred by the Minister or the Supreme Court to be dealt with as an appeal,
    • or if a conviction is to be quashed following a free pardon or an inquiry.

    iii) Inquiries conducted by a judicial officer under Part 7 of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001. (Note: for these matters, special supplementary funding must be made available to enable Legal Aid NSW to provide legal assistance.)

    For legal aid to be granted in the above matters, the applicant must satisfy the following tests:

    • the Means Test
    • the Merit Test A; and
    • the Availability of Funds Test, and
    • for (i) and (ii) Legal Aid NSW is satisfied that it is an appropriate expenditure of limited legal aid funds.

    Note: Legal aid is not available for proceedings relating to summary offences where Part 2 of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001 (NSW) applies.

  57. Part 8 of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act

    Legal aid is available to a person who has been acquitted of an offence and who is the subject of an application made by the Director of Public Prosecution under Part 8 of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001 (NSW).

    For legal aid to be available, the applicant must satisfy:

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • the Availability of Funds Test.
  58. Parentage

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for parentage testing where legal aid has also been granted for child support or parenting proceedings.

    See also Child Support and Child Maintenance

  59. Personal Injury

    see also car accidents

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is not available for personal injury matters.


     

  60. Preventative detention orders

    see also Extended Supervision orders, continuing detention orders and control orders

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available to an applicant who is currently or was previously the subject of a preventative detention order under Division 104 or 105 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth) for;

    • proceedings for a remedy in relation to a preventative detention order or treatment under such an order, including an application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and
    • making a complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman regarding the making of a preventative detention order or treatment under such an order.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • Means Test
    • Merit Test
    • Availability of Funds Test
  61. Preventative detention, contact order and prohibited order matters

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for advice and representation in preventative detention, contact order and prohibited contact order matters.

    • Link to Policy Online

      Which tests apply ?

    • There is no means test applied for the criminal advice service.
    • For representation, the applicant must generally satisfy the following tests;
      • Means Test
      • Merit Test
      • Availability of Funds Test
  62. Prisoners

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available to prisoners for representation in the following types of matters:

    • Hearings before the Parole Authority
    • Life Re-sentencing matters
    • Review Hearings in relation to a segregation direction
    • Matters conducted by visiting justices (in certain gaols)
    • Supreme Court reviews

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • the Availability of Funds Test

    For legal aid to be granted for Supreme Court reviews, the following tests must also be satisfied:

    • Merit Test A, and
    • It is an appropriate expenditure of limited public funds, and
    • The decision has or could have a substantial effect on the prisoner's parole. 

    The Prisoners Legal Service (PLS) provides a range of services to prisoners in NSW. The service visits NSW gaols and provides free and confidential legal advice and minor assistance. Prisoners can contact the PLS on the Common Auto Dial List (CADL) as a free call - press #11 or contact 02-8688 3888.

  63. Privacy

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is not available for privacy issues.  

    There are laws protecting the privacy of information held about a person by State or Commonwealth government departments, or private organisations.  If there are any concerns about how an organisation has collected, used or disclosed any private information about a person, contact the relevant State or Commonwealth agency.

  64. Proceeds of crime

    Legal aid is available for proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth) (POC Act) if the applicant has property that is covered by a restraining order under the POC Act, or is likely to be covered by such an order.

    For legal aid to be granted the applicant must meet the following tests:

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A and
    • the Availability of Funds Test.

    Note: In applying the Means Test, Legal Aid NSW must disregard any of the applicant's property that is subject to a restraining or confiscation order under the POC Act, or is likely to be covered by such an order.

    Note: Legal aid is not available for State proceeds of crime matters.

  65. Product safety and liability

    Is legal aid available?

    External dispute resolution - Legal aid may be available to consumers for external dispute resolution. Legal aid will only be available where it is appropriate in the particular circumstances of the matter that the applicant has assistance, taking into account;

    • the subjective circumstances of the applicant
    • the complexity of the matter and
    • any other relevant factors.

    Lodging a complaint - Legal aid may also be available to assist an applicant in lodging a complaint to the regulator in a consumer protection matter, however the applicant will need to prove that the public interest would be advanced in assisting the applicant to lodge the complaint.

    Court proceedings – For legal aid to be granted in court proceedings, Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that the applicant has already participated in internal or external dispute resolution (if applicable) or that the public interest would be advanced (e.g. there is a significant point of law to be determined.)


    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A
    • the Availability of Funds Test.
  66. Professional negligence

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal Aid is not available for professional negligence matters.

  67. Property settlement

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for family law property settlements in the following circumstances;

    • For family dispute resolution (FDR) to resolve property settlement matters which occur after the breakdown of marriage or de facto relationship under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).
    • For court proceedings about property settlement matters arising after the breakdown of marriage under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that the applicant has attempted FDR or participating in FDR is not appropriate in the circumstances

    For FDR and court proceedings, Legal Aid NSW must also be satisfied that the dispute relates to:

    • the matrimonial or de facto home, and/or
    • a deferred benefit, such as superannuation benefits, and
    • Legal Aid NSW Is satisfied that:
      • the separation of the parties is final, and
      • the estimated equity in the home and/or deferred benefit is more than $20,000, and
      • where the dispute relates to the matrimonial or de facto home:  
        • it is likely that the applicant will be able to retain the home or there are exceptional circumstances, and
        • the applicant for legal aid is also seeking the resolution of a related family law matter, or it is appropriate to grant legal aid because of special circumstances.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must also satisfy the following tests;

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test B
    • Availability of Funds Test.
  68. Protected estates/managed estates

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for protected estate matters under the NSW Trustee and Guardian Act 2009. If a person is incapable of managing their financial affairs, it is possible to have a financial manager appointed. Any concerned person can apply to the Protective Division of the Supreme Court or to the Guardianship Tribunal.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A
    • the Availability of Funds Test.
  69. Public Health Orders under the Public Health Act

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for proceedings under the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) for:

    • defending an application to NCAT to confirm a Public Health Order made in relation to a Category 5 medical condition
    • Applications to NCAT for review of a Public Health Order made in relation to a Category 4 medical condition.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must also satisfy the following tests;

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A
    • the Availability of Funds Test.
  70. Rape/Sexual assault

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is not generally available for victims compensation matters.

  71. Restorative Justice Programs

    Is legal aid available?

    • Legal aid may be available to a person who is participating in a restorative justice program where the court makes an order in relation to Forum Conferencing pursuant to Schedule 5 of the Criminal Procedure Regulation 2010.
    • Legal aid is available to a young person who is participating in a restorative justice program where the court makes an order in relation to Youth Justice Conferencing pursuant to the Young Offenders Act 1987.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • the Availability of Funds Test, and
    • Legal Aid NSW is satisfied that it is appropriate in the particular circumstances of the matter that the applicant has legal representation.
  72. Sexual Assault Communications Privilege

    Is legal aid available?

    1. Representation for protected confiders in sexual assault matters Legal aid is available to a person who is a protected confider seeking to oppose:

    • the production of protected confidences, and/or
    • the abduction of evidence in relation to protected confidence in a sexual assault criminal trial.

    Which tests apply?

    For legal aid to be granted the following test must be satisfied:

    There is no means test applied in these matters.

    Note: For the purposes of this policy 'protected confidences' are communications protected under Chapter 6, Part 5, Division 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW).

    2. Representation in appeals under s5F of the Criminal Appeal Act 1912 (NSW)
    Legal aid is available for an appeal in relation to these matters under s5F of the Criminal Appeal Act 1912 (NSW).

    Which tests apply?

    For legal aid to be granted the following tests must be satisfied:

    Legal Aid NSW must also be satisfied that:

    • it is an appropriate expenditure of limited public legal aid funds, and
    • there is a significant issue of public interest.

    Note: Legal aid may also be available to protected confiders for appeals to the Court of Criminal Appeal and the High Court.

  73. Special medical procedures

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available to parents for proceedings in the Family Court relating to a special medical procedure involving a child.

    Legal aid is available to independent children's lawyers appointed by a court in relation to the proceedings.

    Which tests apply?

    Applicants who are parents must satisfy the following tests:

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test.

    See Guardianship in relation to special treatment matters conducted in the Guardianship Division of NCAT.

  74. Spousal and de facto maintenance – see also Family Dispute Resolution

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for spousal and de facto maintenance matters to:

    • apply to the court under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) for an order for spousal or de facto maintenance, or to increase spousal or de facto maintenance or
    • defend a court application for spousal or de facto maintenance or for increased spousal or de facto maintenance or
    • apply to reduce the amount payable under a spousal or de facto maintenance order or
    • defend the application to reduce the amount payable under a spousal or de facto maintenance order.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted the applicant must meet the following eligibility tests:

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test B
    • The Availability of Funds Test, and

    Legal Aid NSW must also be satisfied that:

    • the applicant has attempted FDR, or
    • participating in FDR is not appropriate in the circumstances.

    Where the applicant for legal aid is the applicant to the proceedings, Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that:

    • the other party's whereabouts are known, or substituted service is likely to be successful, and
    • there is good reason to believe that the other party has the capacity, or is likely to have the capacity in the future, to pay spouse or de facto maintenance, or increased maintenance.
  75. Tenancy

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for tenancy matters for consumers and may include the following types of matters;

    • Tenancy disputes
    • Eviction matters
    • Security of tenure matters, and
    • Protected tenant matters.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must meet the following tests;

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A
    • the Availability of Funds Test.

    Note: Legal aid is not available for tenancy applications concerning fair rent where there is not point of law involved. Tenants' advocates are located around NSW and assist tenants with their tenancy issues.

  76. Unfair Dismissal

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available for unfair dismissal proceedings in the Fair Work Commission and on appeal to people at social disadvantage.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must meet the following tests;

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A
    • the Availability of Funds Test.
  77. Veterans

    The Legal Aid NSW Veterans' Advocacy Service (02-9219 5148 ) provides free legal advice and minor assistance to all veterans and their dependants on entitlement to disability and service pensions, gold card eligibility, war widow’s pensions, allowances and entitlements from the Department of Veterans' Affairs..

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is available to war veterans or their dependants in a wide range of matters.

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    Legal aid is available for war veterans' matters in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • Merit Test and
    • Availability of Funds Test.

    For appeals from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A
    • Availability of Funds Test, and
    • Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied there may be a strong prospect of a substantial benefit to be gained by the applicant in appealing from a decision of the AAT.
  78. Victim's compensation

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is not generally available for victim's compensation matters.

  79. Wills

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal aid is not available for a dispute over a will or estate, including family provision claims.

    Legal Aid is not available for assistance in making a will or applying for probate.

  80. Working with Children

    Is legal aid available?

    Legal Aid is available for NCAT proceedings under Part 4 of the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 (NSW) where:

    • the applicant's employment or protection employment is affected by the clearance decision or disqualification, or
    • the applicant is an authorised carer or prospective authorised carer, or
    • Legal Aid NSW is satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances.

    Legal Aid is available for appeals from a decision of NCAT under Part 4 of the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 (NSW).

    Link to Policy Online

    Which tests apply ?

    For legal aid to be granted, the applicant must satisfy the following tests;

    • the Means Test
    • the Unpaid Contributions Test
    • Merit Test A
    • the Availability of Funds Test.