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Step by step guide to Legal Aid NSW eligibility policies

Figure 1: Legal Aid NSW eligibility test for criminal appeals to the NSW Criminal Court of Appeal and the High Court

Step 1:

Means Test

  • Income < $400 per week
  • Assets < $1,500

See Policy online 4.13.1

Step 2:

Unpaid Contributions Test

  • No aid if outstanding debt not paid within specified timeframe

See Policy online 4.13.1

Step 3:

Merit Test A

  • Is it reasonable in all of the circumstances to grant aid?
  • Nature and extent of benefit to applicant, or
  • Disadvantage / harm if refused AND
  • Reasonable prospects of success

See Policy online 4.13.1

Step 4:

Availability of Funds Test

  • Not applicable at present

See Policy online 4.13.1

Step 5:

Appropriate expenditure of limited public legal aid funds

  • Whether costs are warranted by likely benefit to the applicant or, in some circumstances, the community

See Criminal Guideline 1.2

Step 6:

Sentence Matters

  • Is only an appropriate use of funds if non-parole period will not expire before appeal could be prepared
  • Where constitutional issues, Director Crime or Grants must consult with CEO

See Criminal Law Procedures manual

Step 7:

High Court only

  • Full merit advice
  • Director Crime or Grants to approve, including addressing whether case is good use of limited public funds
  • Director to consult with CEO in appropriate cases

See Criminal Law Procedures manual