Policy Bulletin 2020/2 Family Early Resolution Assistance: Property Mediation Pilot

4 March 2020

On 29 October 2019, the Legal Aid NSW Board approved the Commonwealth Property Mediation Pilot to be funded through a new service type, Early Resolution Assistance (ERA).


As part of the Commonwealth’s Women’s Economic Security statement, legal aid commissions around the country have been funded to administer the Commonwealth Property Mediation Pilot (the Pilot) to help separating couples use mediation to divide a small amount of property. The Pilot will be conducted over two years and we will assist 100 families in that timeframe. The Pilot will capture people who may not otherwise be eligible for legal aid. Intake into the Pilot will be managed by the Legal Aid NSW Inhouse Practice and where the second party does not have a lawyer, they will be assigned to a panel lawyer. See Information Sheet for further details.

Early Resolution Assistance (ERA) – a new service type

The Board has approved a new service type ERA. Applications for funding for the Pilot will be through ERA. ERA will have a simplified means and merit test with a streamlined application and administration process. ERA is:

  • legal representation provided to a person participating in an established, independent dispute resolution process
  • available to applicants who satisfy the eligibility criteria, and
  • available for disputes which can be resolved quickly and cost-effectively by use of the dispute resolution process on its own.
  • What has changed?

    What has changed?

    Funding for the Pilot is available to applicants who satisfy the eligibility criteria, including means and merit tests. The second party is not required to meet any eligibility criteria. The Pilot only covers mediation for property disputes. Applicants who also have a children’s matter can apply for a grant of legal aid in the normal way for the children’s matter.

Where are the changes?

The changes are set out in Policy Online - ERA - Property Mediation Pilot. There is information on the site about the eligibility criteria, the fee scale that applies and how the mediation process will work.

Commencement date

The Pilot commenced on the 10 February 2020.

Contact for further information

Regardind ERA:
Email Aideen McGarrigle or phone 02 9219 5701
Regarding Property Mediation Pilot:
Email Justine Field from Family Dispute Resolution Service or phone 02 9219 5842.