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Legal Aid NSW policy and guidelines

Domestic violence related client eligibility policies and guidelines

Apprehended Domestic Violence orders
  • Legal aid is available for applicants in ADVO matters in most cases.

  • Legal aid is available for defendants in ADVO matters in more limited circumstances.

  • There are certain defined circumstances where legal aid is not available in ADVO matters.

  • Protected persons in an ADVO are exempt from having to pay initial contributions.

  • Protected persons in ADVO matters can be represented by a rostered duty solicitor or, if none are available, a private practitioner nominated
     by the protected person.
Family law matters
  • If your family law client wants to apply for an ADVO, in deciding whether to grant aid Guideline 2.7 provides that family lawyers should apply
     our ADVO policies.

  • In parenting matters proceeding to litigation, legal aid is generally not available where the dispute is limited to the amount of time a child
     spends with a parent. However, aid might be available if there are allegations of abuse or family violence: see our definition of "significant
     disadvantage" under Policy 5.3.3.

  • Legal aid will be provided without the requirement to participate in family dispute resolution (FDR) where a party's safety or ability to negotiate
     effectively is jeopardised by behaviour of the other party such as violence, intimidation, control or coercion, or a history of such behaviour.

  • Urgent family law matters are given higher priority than non-urgent matters. Urgent matters include situations where the applicant's safety or
     a child's welfare or safety are at risk.

  • In prioritising funding for 'non-urgent' family law matters, the following considerations should be considered. Is domestic violence a factor in a
     matter, or is there a likelihood of domestic violence? Are there concerns regarding the safety, welfare and psychological wellbeing of a child?

  • If a client wants to vary or discharge parenting orders or set aside a parenting plan, often the availablility of legal aid will depend on whether
     there has been a material change in circumstances. Relevant examples of a material change in circumstances include where there is a
     likelihood of the applicant or a child being subjected to violence or physical or mental harm.

  • For legal aid to be available for a court application relating to the divorce or nullity of marriage, Legal Aid NSW must be satisfied the applicant
     suffers particular hardship. This requirement may be satisfied if there are allegations of abuse or family violence, or if a child is at risk of harm.
     'Special circumstances' must also exist. These will be found where there is, or is a likelihood of, domestic violence, especially if an allegation of
     domestic violence has been made by a party to the matter.