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Policy Bulletin 2018 / 6 (Extended Legal Assistance)

3 Sep 2018

On 16 June 2018, the Legal Aid NSW Board approved the introduction of a new Service Type, Extended Legal Assistance (ELA).


Legal Aid NSW increasingly has clients with complex needs who require multiple minor assistance services for different legal problems. For example, a client may need advice and minor assistance for a Centrelink issue, a housing problem and a debt. These are often legal issues that substantially impact on the client’s ability to access fundamental needs such as housing, income support, and the ability to access basic goods and services. We also have vulnerable clients who need multiple minor assistance services in core areas of legal aid work such as housing, discrimination and child support. To ensure we can deliver services effectively to these clients we have introduced a new service type ELA.

What is ELA?

ELA is an extended legal service which includes taking carriage of a matter (or multiple matters) in an ongoing, representative capacity, but due to the nature of the matter/s it does not proceed to a court or tribunal, or the lawyer is not required to appear before a court or tribunal, except in exceptional circumstances on a one-off basis. Where minor assistance was previously provided as multiple discrete services to one individual client, these will now be recorded and counted as a representation service, ELA.

Extended Legal Assistance will be available from the inhouse practice only, and only in civil and family law matters. There will be two streams:

  1. Clients with complex needs who require Extended Legal Assistance, and
  2. Vulnerable clients who require Extended Legal Assistance with core areas of legal aid work.

What has changed?

See Policy Online at Extended Legal Assistance for details of the eligibility criteria that apply to family law matters and civil law matters.

Commencement date

ELA will be available to clients of the inhouse Civil Law and Family Law Practices from 3 September 2018.

Contact for further information

Please contact the Client Eligibility Unit for any questions about the change on aideen.mcgarrigle@legalaid.nsw.gov.au or contact Mary Whitehead on 9219 5044.