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Policy Bulletin 2 / 17 (Criminal Law Policy – serious crime prevention orders)

9 May 2017

The Legal Aid NSW Board has approved changes to the Criminal Law Policy and Civil Law Policy to provide for grants of aid to applicants in proceedings under the Crimes (Serious Crime Prevention Order) Act 2016 (NSW) (the Act).


The Act commenced in November 2016 and it introduces serious crime prevention orders (SCPO) to restrict the activities of individuals or organisations in order to prevent, restrict or disrupt their involvement in serious crime-related activities.

The NSW Commissioner of Police, the Director of Public Prosecutions or the NSW Crime Commission can apply
for an order.

If there are reasonable grounds to believe that the making of the order would protect the public, then a SCPO can be made by the:

  • District and Supreme courts where the person or corporation has been convicted of a ‘serious criminal offence’.
  • Supreme Court where the person or corporation has been involved in ‘serious crime related activity’ for which they have not been convicted. This includes facilitating another person engaging in serious crime related activity, and engaging in conduct that is likely to facilitate another person engaging in serious crime related activity.

A SCPO can contain any conditions the court considers appropriate in the circumstances, including restrictions on an individual’s working arrangements, business dealings, means of communication, associates and travel arrangements. The maximum duration of the order is five years.

The Act gives third parties whose interests may be affected by the making of a SCPO against another person standing to appear in the application for the order, and any proceedings to vary or revoke the order.

What has changed?

Legal aid is available for applicants:

  • Opposing an application for a SCPO
  • Appealing a SCPO
  • Defending or applying for a variation or revocation of a SCPO

These applicants can be a person or a corporation.

Where the applicant is a corporation, Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied there are exceptional circumstances.

Legal aid is also available to applicants whose interests may be affected by the making of a SCPO against another person for representation in proceedings seeking, varying or revoking an order.

Proceedings under the Act are civil law proceedings that will be administered as criminal law grants.

Where do I find the changes?

See Policy Online Criminal Law Policy at 4.18.8 – 4.18.11 and Civil Law Policy 6.7.8 – 6.7.11

Commencement date

The changes will apply to applications for legal aid determined on or after 8 May 2017.

Contact : Anna Coffey, Senior Solicitor Legal Policy Branch for any questions about this policy change.