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14. Section 33 Payments

14.1 What are exceptional circumstances?

Section 33 payments can only be waived or reduced where Legal Aid NSW is satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances.

14.1.1 Exercising discretion to reduce or waive the section 33 payment

In deciding whether to exercise discretion to reduce or waive a section 33 payment, Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied that the applicant's financial considerations are exceptional when considered against other Legal Aid NSW clients. None of the following situations alone or in combination is considered to be exceptional circumstances:

  • receiving a Centrelink Payment
  • being in custody
  • coming from a culturally and/or linguistically diverse background
  • being very old or very young
  • having a physical or intellectual disability
  • experiencing mental illness  
  • having other debts

14.1.2 Where the applicant has requested a reduction of the section 33 payment

Legal Aid NSW will only be satisfied there are exceptional circumstances where Legal Aid NSW is satisfied that the applicant for aid has no funds or is unable to access funds.

Legal Aid NSW may be satisfied that the applicant has no funds or is unable to access funds. This may include circumstances where the applicant:

  • is in long term custody or has no prospect of getting bail
  • is in long term institutional care
  • is in immigration detention
  • is a refugee living in the community, or
  • is a child without a financially associated person

See Guideline 14.2 for information on clients paying by instalments.

Date published: 30/01/2017