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Guidelines

4. Means Test

4.3. Granting aid when net assessable income is above the income limit or applicant does not satisfy Means Test

4.3.1 When income is less than 10% above the income limit

There is a discretion to grant legal aid to an applicant whose net assessable income exceeds the income eligibility limit by over 10%. Legal aid may be granted where the determining officer is satisfied there are exceptional circumstances taking into account the following factors:

  • the likely costs of proceeds
  • the type of proceedings
  • the overall financial position of the applicant
  • situations where the applicant would suffer hardship if legal aid was refused
  • that there is not sufficient time for the applicant to raise the funds necessary to pay for legal assistance.

Legal Aid NSW officers authorised under the Delegation Instrument can exercise this discretion.

4.3.2 When income is more than 10% above the income limit and/or applicant does not meet means test

There is a discretion to grant legal aid to an applicant whose net assessable income is more than 10% above the income limit set out in the policy and/or the applicant does not meet the Means Test. Legal aid may be granted where the determining officer is satisfied there are exceptional circumstances taking into account the following factors:

  • the likely cost of the proceedings
  • the type of proceedings
  • the overall financial position of the applicant
  • whether the applicant would suffer undue financial hardship if legal aid was refused

And where the applicant is outside the Means Test because the assets contribution exceeds the allowable amount for the type of matter, whether:

  • there is sufficient time for the applicant to raise the funds necessary to pay for legal assistance, and
  • the applicant could reasonably be expected to borrow against assets.

Legal Aid NSW officers authorised under the Delegation Instrument can exercise this discretion.

Note: This discretion applies to the decision to grant aid where the applicant does not satisfy the Means Test. In most cases, the applicant will be required to pay a contribution based on their income. Only Directors can reduce or waive a contribution based on income. See Contributions Guideline at 5.2

Date Last Published: 30/01/2017