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Policy Bulletin 2019 / 7 – (Means Test - Financially Associated Person)

10 May 2019

On 19 February 2019 the Legal Aid NSW Board approved a new Test and Guidelines for the assessment of Financially Associated Persons as part of the Means Test.


The Financially Associated Person (FAP) is a central component of the Means Test that is applied to most applications for legal aid. A FAP is a person who could be reasonably expected to contribute to the applicant’s legal costs, and is included in the assessment of the applicant’s means. The test has been revised to make it clearer, fairer and improve consistency in application.

What has changed?

The new Test and Guidelines is based on household types as described by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. There are presumed relationships of financial association in some household types, including couple family households and households with dependent children. Other household types, such as group households or households with non-dependent children, are deemed to be financially independent and do not have a FAP for the purposes of the Means Test.

We clarify that a parent is not the FAP of an adult child unless the child is between 18 and 24 years of age and studying full time. This is regardless of whether the child is living with and financially dependent upon those parents. It also removes the presumption that someone is a FAP because they have contributed to legal fees in the past.

See Means Test Policy 7.3 and Means Test Guideline 4.4 for details of the policy.

Commencement date

The change applies to applications for legal aid determined on or after 13 May 2019.

Contact for further information

Please contact the Client Eligibility Unit for any questions about the change:

Aideen.McGarrigle@legalaid.nsw.gov.au or 9219 5701

Petra.Wilson-Jones@legalaid.nsw.gov.au or 9134 9307