Legal Aid NSW Policy Online
Document Type: Policy
Chapter:14. Types of Grants

14.1. Standard grant of legal aid

14.1.1 What is a standard grant of legal aid?

A standard grant of legal aid made to a legal aid applicant is either:

Prior to a grant of legal aid being made, a legal aid applicant must satisfy the Legal Aid NSW eligibility tests which include:

14.1.2 Continuous grants of aid

A continuous grant of aid is when a legal aid applicant receives a grant of legal aid for either:

14.1.3 Staged-model grant

Legal Aid NSW may grant legal aid as a staged-model grant. This is a grant of legal aid for a particular stage of a matter. The staged model:

Although the legal aid applicant is required to apply at each stage of the grant, the grant is ongoing and will continue to the conclusion of the proceedings unless terminated by Legal Aid NSW at an earlier stage.

Date Last Published: 22/12/2016

14.2. Lump sum grants

14.2.1 What is a lump sum grant of legal aid?

A lump sum grant is when the Legal Aid NSW decides under section 30(2) and (4) of the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979 (NSW) (the Act), to provide legal aid in the form of a grant of money for a specified purpose or purposes.

14.2.2 When is a lump sum grant of aid authorised?

Lump sum grants are usually authorised where it is considered by Legal Aid NSW that in the circumstances it is appropriate that a legal aid applicant be granted limited assistance. This may happen for example to cover legal costs or disbursements in a civil law public interest matter.

14.2.3 Certain conditions that may not apply to lump sum grants

Under s30(2) and (4) of the Act if Legal Aid NSW makes a lump sum grant of aid, it can exercise discretion in deciding whether the following sections of the Act apply to the lump grant:

The policy of Legal Aid NSW is that generally these sections of the Act will not apply to the lump sum grant.

If any of these sections are excluded in the lump sum grant, it must be specified in the grant letter.

14.2.4 Lump sum grants for public interest and test case matters

If an applicant receives a lump sum grant for a public interest environment matter, a public interest matter or test case, Legal Aid NSW policy is that the section 47 indemnity will apply unless exceptional circumstances exist.

14.2.5 What costs are paid?

Legal Aid NSW will pay disbursements and fees at the relevant Legal Aid NSW scale of fees until the sum of money granted is reached.

14.2.6 What happens if the client recovers money?

If the legally assisted person recovers money then s46 of the Act applies to the lump sum grant but the Legal Aid Fund accrual is not recouped.

See Contributions chapter.

14.2.7 Lump sum grants authorised by the Legal Aid Review Committee

If the Legal Aid Review Committee determines to authorise a lump sum grant under section 30(2) and (4) of the Act, then ss34(6)-(8), 41 and 47 of the Act will not to apply to the grant, unless the Committee determines otherwise.

If any of the sections are excluded in the lump sum grant of aid, it must be specified in the grant letter.

Date Last Published: 22/12/2016

14.3. Emergency grants of aid

14.3.1 What is an emergency grant of aid?

An emergency grant of aid is a grant of aid made before the Legal Aid NSW has all the material it needs to make a determination under s34 of the Act, and must be:

Legal Aid NSW may approve an emergency grant by telephone before the legally assisted person has completed a Legal Aid NSW application for legal aid.

Legal Aid NSW officers authorised under the Delegation Instrument can determine an application for an emergency grant of aid.

The grant normally dates from the initial request for aid. Legal aid cannot be dated earlier than the original request for aid.

See Guideline 8.2 for information about the process for approving emergency grants of aid.

14.3.2 Examples of urgent matters

Situations in which Legal Aid NSW may approve an emergency grant include:

14.3.3 Conditions attached to emergency grants

The following conditions apply to all emergency grants of aid:

Further grant of aid for same proceedings

Where Legal Aid NSW is satisfied that the facts in the legal aid application are not substantially the same as those disclosed by the legally assisted person's legal practitioner in the request for the emergency grant, the legal aid applicant may not receive a further grant of aid for the proceedings.

14.3.4 Emergency grants not generally available in cases of delay

Legal Aid NSW will not approve an emergency grant if there is a delay due to:

unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Example of exceptional circumstances

Legal Aid NSW may be satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances if an applicant has an acute medical condition that leads to a delay in instructing a legal practitioner.

14.3.5 If emergency grant is refused but aid is granted later

The grant of legal aid dates from the initial telephone request, if

Note: The date of a grant of legal aid is very important as it can have implications for the legal aid applicant and other parties to the proceedings. For example it may affect the extent of the indemnity under s47 of the Act.

Date Last Published: 22/12/2016

14.4. Retrospective grant of legal aid

14.4.1 What is a retrospective grant of legal aid

Legal Aid NSW does not have the power to authorise a retrospective grant of legal aid.

An application for a retrospective grant of legal aid is defined as one which is received by Legal Aid NSW:

Legal aid applications received following oral or informal requests for emergency grants of legal aid are not regarded as requests for a retrospective grant.

14.4.2 Grants of legal aid date from initial contact

Generally legal aid grants, including those authorised by a Legal Aid Review Committee date from the initial request for legal aid which is either:

14.4.3 Exceptions to the policy that aid dates from initial contact

There are three exceptions to the policy that a grant of legal aid dates from the initial request for legal aid:

14.5. Duty Service grants

14.5.1 Family law duty

Legal aid is available for family law duty matters, including children's matters and care proceedings.

14.5.2 Criminal law duty

Legal aid is available for criminal law duty matters in the Local Court.

14.5.3 Civil law duty scheme

Legal aid is available for some civil law duty matters.

Date Last Published: 27/05/2015

14.6. Information, legal advice and minor assistance

14.6.1 Information

Legal Aid NSW provides a number of information services including factsheets and resources about the law, referrals to other services and workshops about the law.

14.6.2 Legal advice service

Legal Aid NSW provides general advice to the public on a range of matters at Legal Aid NSW offices and outreach services. Advice is provided free of charge without application of the means test or merit test.

Advice interviews are normally limited to 20 to 30 minutes.

Call the free legal helpline LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529 to find a service near you or use our map to find your closest Legal Aid NSW advice service.

Find more information about our advice services.

14.6.3 Minor Assistance

Minor assistance is an extension of an advice service and usually involves a lawyer assisting an advice client with writing a letter or assisting them with filling out court documents. This is normally limited to 30 minutes and is at the discretion of the lawyer providing the minor assistance.

Date Last Published: 22/12/2016