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12. Representation: Allocating Legal Work

12.4. Family law matters

12.4.1 Family law - generally

Decisions about representation

Legal aid may be granted to applicants in family law matters on the condition that the legal aid applicant is to be represented by either:

Legal aid applicants may nominate a legal practitioner on their Legal Aid application form. However, in the grant of legal aid, the matter may not be assigned to a nominated legal practitioner.

Legal representation in child support matters is to be provided by the Child Support Service unless:

  • the Child Support Service is unable to conduct the matter, or
  • there are exceptional circumstances.

No right of appeal

There is no right of appeal to a Legal Aid Review Committee (LARC) against a decision to provide legal aid on the condition that a matter will be conducted by an in-house legal practitioner.

See ss.34(4A) and 56(1AA) of the Act.

12.4.2 Contact Dispute Mediation - for children and young people

Legal representation for children and young people in contact dispute mediation is to be provided by an in-house legal practitioner unless:

  • an in-house legal practitioner is unable to conduct the matter, or
  • there are exceptional circumstances.

Legal Aid NSW will only appoint a single legal representative for all children and young people who are the subject of the mediation, unless exceptional circumstances exist.

Exceptional circumstances include where one of the children or young people is over 12 years of age, and that child or young person holds strong views about contact arrangements that do not accord with the views of the legal representative about the best interests of the younger siblings.

See 12.4.1 (above) for general information on decisions about representation

12.4.3 Contact Dispute Mediation - for adults

Legal representation for an adult in a contact dispute mediation is to be provided by an in-house legal practitioner, a community legal centre (in accordance with the relevant partnership agreement with Legal Aid NSW), or the Aboriginal Legal Service unless:

  • an in-house legal practitioner, community legal centre or the Aboriginal Legal Service is unable to conduct the matter, or
  • there are exceptional circumstances.

See 12.4.1 (above) for general information on decisions about representation.

12.4.4 Divorce matters

Legal representation for an applicant in divorce matters is to be provided by an in-house legal practitioner, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Exceptional circumstances may include where the in-house practice has a conflict of interest or does not have the capacity to take on the matter, or the client is unable to access a Legal Aid NSW office.

See 12.4.1 (above) for general information on decisions about representation.


Date Last Published: 26/03/2019