Terminating aid scenario

Scenario – where change in type of matter

Janet has a grant of legal aid for a discrimination matter in the Federal Circuit Court against her former employer. She is also representing herself in an unfair dismissal claim as part of the same proceedings. According to her application for aid Janet has no medical issues.

You've just received an email from Janet in which she says "I've just spoken to my lawyer and I have decided to drop the discrimination claim and just go with the unfair dismissal claim. My barrister thinks I have a better chance with that, and I couldn't bear having to go through the incident again. Anyway, it's still the same proceeding for which I already have a grant of aid, so I'm sure there will be no problem if I keep the same grant."

Suggested action

Speak to the lawyer and explain that if the discrimination claim is discontinued, the grant of aid must be terminated on the basis that the matter is no longer within legal aid policy unless Janet is at special disadvantage. Notify Janet of this in writing, request written confirmation that the discrimination claim will be discontinued, and request submissions regarding special disadvantage. Once the change of matter type is confirmed in writing, and if you are not satisfied Janet is at special disadvantage, the grant of aid should be terminated.

The notification requirements must be followed as set out in 15.1.1 of the policy including about any costs implications.