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ERA - Information Sheet

Early Resolution Assistance (ERA)

(PDF version)

The Legal Aid NSW Board has approved a trial of a new service type called Early Resolution Assistance (ERA).

What is ERA?

  • 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.

In determining whether a dispute resolution process is one for which ERA should be available, Legal Aid NSW will consider the independence, fairness and effectiveness of the process. ERA is not a grant of legal aid which means, for example, there is no right of appeal to the Legal Aid Review Committee.

How is it administered?

Applications for ERA are submitted through Grants Online. The application and administration process are streamlined and use a simplified means and merit test. There is a specific template for the Property Mediation Pilot that must be used by solicitors when submitting applications on behalf of a client.

Where an applicant is not eligible for the Property Mediation Pilot, you should submit an application for legal aid in the normal way.

Are there eligibility policies?

Yes, there are eligibility policies. There is an ERA Means Test and an ERA Merit Test. There are also eligibility policies which are specific to the Property Mediation Pilot: these policies set out the type of property that is covered by the Pilot and the types of applicant that is eligible for assistance under the Pilot.

Is there a fee scale?

Yes, there is a fee scale that applies to the Property Mediation Pilot. The fee rates are the same fee rates that apply to Family Dispute Resolution.

What if my client’s matter doesn’t settle at mediation?

If your client’s matter doesn’t settle through ERA, you will need to submit an application for legal aid for court proceedings. The means and merit tests that apply to grants of aid will apply to the application.