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Disbursement support scheme

On 1 July 2012, the Commonwealth introduced a new disbursement support scheme for Commonwealth, non-criminal law matters. The scheme is not available in state, territory or overseas legal matters. Assistance will not generally be granted to people who can meet their overall legal costs without incurring serious financial difficulty or where legal aid is available but will be available in pro bono matters.
 
The scheme will reimburse costs such as counsel's opinion on the merits, fees for expert reports in litigation, expert witness fees, travel and accommodation costs associated with pro bono legal work, court transcripts, interpreters fees provided an application for approval is made before the costs are incurred.
 
To apply for assistance under the disbursement support scheme, total disbursement costs must be $500 or more. There are maximum allowable amounts for certain disbursement items, such as expert medical reports, interpreter costs, document searches etc. and certain fees are specifically excluded such as counsel's representation/appearance fees, court filing fees or the cost of a report from an anthropologist.
 
Application Forms and further details are available on the Attorney-General's website.

The disbursement support scheme is one of many that are administered under new guidelines from 1 July 2012: the Commonwealth Guidelines for Legal Financial Assistance 2012.