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Annual Report 2017 - 2018

Appealing decisions about legal aid

Independent reviews of decisions made by Legal Aid NSW provide procedural fairness to our clients.

Six independent Legal Aid Review Committees (LARCs) determine appeals relating to legal aid applications that have been refused and grants of legal aid that have been terminated. The committees are established under the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979 to ensure our clients receive an independent review of their application for legal aid and terminations of grants of legal aid.

Committee members’ work is integral to the Legal Aid NSW appeal process. The work of each committee is invaluable and members played an important role in delivering excellent outcomes to Legal Aid NSW clients.

Legal Aid Review Committee members

  • Ms Nichola Constant
  • Ms Janet Moss
  • Mr Brett Thomson
  • Mr Jeremy Styles
  • Ms Jane Sanders
  • Mr Andrew Borg
  • Ms Maria Good
  • Mr Lisa Battersby
  • Mr Peter Robinson
  • Ms Kathleen Hainsworth
  • Ms Stephanie Koch
  • Mr Winston Terracini SC
  • Ms Paul Blacket SC
  • Ms Anne Healey
  • Ms Pauline Mueller
  • Ms Rita Zammit
  • Mr Kim Garling
  • Mr Brad Watts
  • Mr Dian Neligan
  • Ms Pauline David
  • Mr Jon Prowse
  • Mr Sharyn Hall
  • Ms Thea Heness
  • Ms Miranda Tunica
  • Mr James Lonsdale
  • Ms Anthea Tomlin
  • Ms Leanne Spencer
  • Mr Clyllyn Sperling
  • Ms Mary Falloon
  • Ms Jennifer Wong
  • Mr Donald Sword
  • Ms Lina Rapone
  • Mr Nick Mitrevski
  • Ms Johanna Geddes
  • Ms Lucy Boyle
  • Mr Christopher Dunn
  • Ms Gemma Slack-Smith
  • Mr Paul Guterres
  • Ms Melanie Faithfull
  • Ms Kathleen Lamoureux
  • Ms Cheryl Drummy
  • Mr Michael Granziera
  • Ms Alexandra Brown
  • Ms Terese Messner
  • Mr Mark Whelan
  • Mr Greg Moore
  • Dr Stephen van der Mye
  • Mr Stephen Stuart

Decrease in family law appeals

The review committees held 48 meetings and eight teleconferences. The committees allowed appeals in 66 out of 974 matters lodged, compared to 65 appeals allowed out of 1,049 lodged last year. There was a significant decrease in the number of appeals lodged in family law and a slight decrease in civil law and criminal law.

The decrease in Family Law matters can be largely attributed to the reduction in Care & Protection matters as a result of FACS introducing a new service model that supports keeping children safely with their families wherever possible. The percentage of successful appeals across all three program areas increased slightly to last year with an overall increase of 0.6%. For further information in comparison to last year and this year, please refer to Table 1 and Table 2.

Appeal trends over five years

The average number of appeals submitted each year over the past five years has been 1,162. The trends in the numbers of appeals and outcomes over the past five years is set out in Table 2.

Table 1: Appeals and outcomes 2017–2018

Law TypeAllowedDisallowedDeferredNot AppealableWithdrawnTotal AppealsAppeals Allowed (%)
Civil21092001131.8%
Criminal2721044762949.2%
Family3750381185676.5%
TOTAL668221448249746.8%

Table 2: Appeals and outcomes over five years

Review outcome2013–20142014–20152015–20162016–20172017–2018
Appeal allowed12249606566
Appeal disallowed1,196999879878822
Deferred5525141914
Not apellable9072365848
Withdrawn441802924
TOTAL1,4671,1491,1691,049974