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Policy Bulletin 2018 / 8 (Sexual Assault Communication Privilege)

17 Sep 2018

On 4 September the Board approved changes to the Civil Law Policy relating to sexual assault communication privilege matters.


The current policy applies to a person who a ‘protected confider’ seeking to oppose:

  • the production of protected confidences, and/or
  • the adduction of evidence in relation to protected confidence

in a sexual assault criminal trial. This covers situations where a complainant is responding to subpoenas in relation to protected confidences, but only where the trial relates to sexual assault. 

This means that legal aid is only available to ‘protected confiders’ who are the complainant in a sexual assault trial or who are witnesses in a sexual assault trial (for example, tendency witnesses).

What has changed?

Legal aid is now available to protected confiders in all criminal law trials and AVO proceedings where the sexual assault communication privilege applies. It is also available to protected confiders in civil proceeding following on from a criminal proceeding where the privilege was successfully argued.

See Policy Online at 6.17 for further details of the policy change.

Commencement date

The change applies to applications for legal aid determined on or after 17 September 2018.

Contact for further information

Please contact the Client Eligibility Unit for any questions about the change on anna.coffey@legalaid.nsw.gov.au or 9213 5209.