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Policy Bulletin 2019 / 9 (Contributions Policy)

28 Jun 2019

The Legal Aid NSW Board has approved a suite of changes to the Contributions Policy, including changing how clients’ contribution to legal fees is assessed.


The 2017 Review of the Contributions Policy found that aspects of the policy created additional hardship for clients, practitioners and the administration of grants of legal aid. We are introducing a number of changes to address issues identified in the Review.

What has changed?

  • removing the Unpaid Contributions Test
  • removing section 33 payments
  • expanding the Exceptional Circumstances Test for initial contributions [


  • changing the name of 'final contributions' to 'contribution to legal costs' [


  • changing how the amount of a client's contribution to legal costs is calculated [11.3]
  • amending the Charge Policy [

    Guideline 5.4

    ], and
  • Directors have discretion to reduce or waive contributions in exceptional circumstances [

    Guideline 5.8


For more details of the changes, please see Contributions Policy 11 and Contributions Guideline 5.


Online training is available for 0.5 CDP through Legal Aid NSW Learning Management System (LMS). To register, log into LMS and search "Contributions Policy: online learning module".

Commencement date

The changes to the Contributions Policy apply to applications and final contribution amounts (contribution to legal costs) determined on or after 1 July 2019.

Contact for further information

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