Go to content


8. Merit Test

8.2. Merit Test A – State and some Commonwealth matters

Merit Test A is the merit test applied in State matters and in Commonwealth civil and criminal matters. The purpose of Merit Test A is to assess whether it is reasonable in all the circumstances to grant legal aid.

In deciding whether it is reasonable Legal Aid NSW will take into account amongst other issues:

  • the nature and extent of
    • any benefit that the applicant might expect to gain by receiving legal aid, or
    • any disadvantage or harm to the applicant that might result from being refused legal aid, and
  • whether the applicant has reasonable prospects of success.

Note: Merit test A has additional criteria in certain state matters such as coronial inquest matters.

Note: See Criminal Law Guideline 1.14 for guidance on considering whether there are reasonable prospects of success for an appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal.