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Policy Bulletin 2019 / 6 (Civil Law Policy – removal of redundant policies)

11 Apr 2019

The Legal Aid NSW Board has approved the removal of certain civil law policies.

Background
Legal Aid NSW undertook a review of the eligibility policies from 2016-18. The review identified certain policies for which we had not received any applications for over ten years: this includes two Commonwealth matters:

1. A decision affecting the receipt of or amount of a Commonwealth employees compensation [Policy Online 6.20], and

2. Decisions or action taken by the Commonwealth affecting a person’s employment [Policy Online 6.21].

Additionally, applicants for legal aid in these types of matters are unlikely to meet the requirements identified by the Commonwealth under the NPA as Priority Client groups.

Civil law matters where the applicant is at special disadvantage
In 2013 the Board determined that funding was not available for civil law matters where the applicant is determined to be At Special Disadvantage, until further notice. No grants of aid have been made under this policy since May 2013.

In 2015 Legal Aid NSW developed the Social Disadvantage Test which is based on evidence based indicators that came out of research we did with the Social Policy Research Centre UNSW. The Social Disadvantage Test reflects more accurately the indicators of disadvantage experienced by our clients. This test will be used in civil law matters in any future policy changes where we need to target those most vulnerable and disadvantaged people. The Board has approved removing the At Special Disadvantage Test in civil law matters [6.25].

What has changed?
These policies have been removed from chapter 6 of Policy Online - Civil Law Policies at sections 6.20, 6.21 and 6.25. Legal aid is not available for these matters for applications received on or after 1 April 2019.

Contact for further information
Please contact the Client Eligibility Unit for any questions about the changes on aideen.mcgarrigle@legalaid.nsw.gov.au or 9219 5701.