Policy Bulletin 2020/11 Civil Policy: The Legal Aid Bushfire Scheme

13 November 2020

The Legal Aid NSW Board has approved a new service the Legal Aid Bushfire Scheme.


The Commonwealth Government has provided funding for legal assistance to NSW primary producers and small businesses dealing with legal issues relating to the 2019/2020 bushfires. Under the Scheme, private solicitors will have access to legal aid funding to provide legal services. The Scheme will be provided through Early Resolution Assistance (ERA). ERA is a new service type which provides for a streamlined application process and a simplified administrative funding process.

The Scheme

ERA approval of $2000 in professional fees is available for legal services and up to an additional $5000 is available for disbursements. Funding extensions are available in reasonable circumstances.

An eligible business or primary producer with more than one bushfire related legal matter may receive more than one approval for legal services and related expenses.

The funding is available for legal issues including, but not limited to:

  • Insurance disputes
  • Commercial leases
  • Contract disputes
  • Planning and building law
  • Local Government disputes
  • Entitlements to government grants and schemes
  • Credit and debt
  • Banking
  • Fencing issues
  • Property Law
  • Employment issues for employers.

To be eligible for funding under the Scheme, the applicant must be:

  • A primary producer or small business owner
  • With a farm or business located in a designated LGA
  • With a legal issue arising from the 2019/2020 bushfire season in one of the designated LGAs.
  • What has changed?

    What has changed?

    • For the details of the eligibility requirements See Policy Online: Early Resolution Assistance: Bushfire Legal Aid Scheme.
Commencement date

The change applies to applications determined on or after 13 November 2020.

Contact for further information

Email Aideen McGarrigle from Client Eligibility Unit or phone 02 9219 5701.