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Policies

6. Civil law matters - when legal aid is available

6.5. Consumer protection matters

6.5.1 When legal aid is available for consumer protection matters

Legal aid is available for certain types of consumer protection matters for consumers including:

  • tenancy matters (for tenants only)
  • credit matters (including mortgages and guarantees)
  • matters relating to unconscionable contracts and unfair contract terms
  • matters relating to the purchase of goods and services
  • matters relating to insurance contracts and superannuation, and
  • matters involving a claim or cause of action against a person retained to advise and/or represent a client for the purpose of a consumer transaction.

This policy does not apply to professional negligence matters.The stages of consumer protection matters for which legal aid is available are set out below at sections 6.5.2 to 6.5.5 of this chapter.

6.5.2 Consumer protection matters – external dispute resolution

Legal funding is available to consumers for external dispute resolution.

For legal funding to be granted in these types of matters the following tests must be satisfied:

Legal funding will only be made available where it is appropriate in the particular circumstances of the matter that the applicant has legal assistance, taking into account:

  • the subjective circumstances of the applicant
  • the complexity of the matter, and
  • any other relevant factors.

See Civil Law Guideline 3.12 on external dispute resolution.

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

6.5.3 Consumer protection matters – lodging a complaint

Legal funding is available to assist an applicant in lodging a complaint to the regulator in a consumer protection matter.

For legal funding to be available in these types of matters the following tests must be satisfied:

6.5.4 Consumer protection matters – court or tribunal proceedings

Legal aid is available to consumers for court or tribunal proceedings.

For legal aid to be granted in these types of matters the following tests must be satisfied:

For legal aid to be granted Legal Aid NSW must also be satisfied that one of the following circumstances applies:

  • the applicant has already participated in internal dispute resolution (IDR) and external dispute resolution (EDR) and the parties have not resolved the dispute, or
  • participation in IDR and EDR is unavailable, impractical or not appropriate in the circumstances, or
  • providing legal representation to the applicant for court proceedings would advance the public interest (for example, because there is a significant point of law to be determined).

Where the matter is eligible for the small claims procedure set out at s199 of the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009, the following additional requirement must be fulfilled:

  • legal aid will only be granted where it is appropriate in the particular circumstances of the matter that the applicant has legal representation, taking into account:
    • the subjective circumstances of the applicant;
    • the complexity of the matter; and
    • any other relevant factor.

Note: See the Availability of Funds Test for how the test applies in Commonwealth consumer protection matters.

6.5.5 Tenancy matters

Legal aid is available for tenancy matters for consumers and may include the following types of matters:

  • tenancy dispute matters
  • eviction matters
  • security of tenure matters, and
  • protected tenant matters.

For legal aid to be granted in these types of matters the following tests must be satisfied:

See Civil Law Guideline 3.2 on requirements to attend ADR.

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

Legal aid is not available for tenancy applications concerning fair rent where there is no point of law involved.

Last published: 24/01/2017