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6. Civil law matters - when legal aid is available

6.14. Public interest human rights matters

Legal aid is available for public interest human rights matters where:

  • the matter is of significant wider public interest, and
  • raises significant human rights issues.

To be eligible for legal aid the applicant must satisfy:

See Civil Law Guideline 3.2 on requirement to attend ADR.

See Civil Law Guideline 3.8 on grants of aid for test cases.

Note: In these matters legal aid is administered as a lump sum grant under s30 of the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979 (NSW). See guideline on lump sum grants in public interest human rights matters at Civil Law Guideline 3.5.

Human Rights Committee: The Legal Aid NSW Human Rights Committee comprises expert human rights lawyers and scholars. The Committee assists Legal Aid NSW in taking a leading role in the protection and promotion of human rights and contributes to the development of human rights jurisprudence. The Committee has a limited annual budget from which to fund matters, and in managing this limited budget, the Committee makes recommendations to Legal Aid NSW about the types of public interest human rights matters that should be tabled before the Committee for its consideration.

When an application is tabled before the Committee, the Committee makes an assessment of that application based on the facts and circumstances of the individual case, and makes a recommendation to the Director, Civil Law Program and the Director Grants about whether a grant of legal aid should be made. The Committee also makes recommendations about how much funding will be allocated to a matter where legal aid is granted.

Date last published: 05/12/2022