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Appeal a Legal Aid decision

What to do if you're not satisfied with the decision made by Legal Aid NSW

If you are not satisfied with the decision made by Legal Aid NSW you may be able to appeal the decision. This right of appeal is given under section 56 of the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979.

Not all decisions can be appealed, however. For example, you cannot appeal against a condition that you are to be represented by a Legal Aid NSW officer, a Public Defender, or a private practitioner.

How do you appeal?

Your appeal must be in writing, should set out the reasons for the appeal and should include your legal aid reference number (e.g.09C012345). You can appeal by filling in this form, or by writing a letter, or by sending a fax or email to Legal Aid NSW. You will find the address and other contact details on your refusal/termination letter. If you are considering lodging an appeal it may be in your best interests to discuss this with your solicitor.

Is there a time limit?

You should lodge your appeal within twenty-eight (28) days of receipt of the decision, although the Legal Aid Review Committee (LARC) may allow a longer period of time if there are special circumstances. If you are lodging your appeal outside of the 28 day period, please give your reasons for the delay.

How long will it take?

First a Legal Aid NSW officer will consider your appeal. This process is called redetermination. If that officer disagrees with the original decision, we will let you know within 14 days that the redetermination is complete and your appeal has been successful. In the event that the officer agrees with the original decision, your appeal will be referred to the LARC. When LARC received your appeal documents, we will notify you of the outcome in approximately four(4) to six(6) weeks but can take longer in certain circumstances, for example if we require further information. Please ensure that you provide all relevant information and documents with your appeal.

What if you're going to court soon?

If you have appealed or intend to appeal, you can apply to the court or tribunal to adjourn the proceedings under section 57 of the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979.

Under section 60 of the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979, the decision of the Legal Aid Review Committee is final.

LARC Appeal Application form

LARC Appeal Application form DOCX | English | May 2023 | 49 kb

Information about the Legal Aid Review Committe (LARC)

The Legal Aid Review Committee (LARC) is an independent decision-making committee established under s53 of the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979 (NSW). LARC is responsible for determining appeals made by legal aid applicants or legally assisted persons in relation to decisions made by Legal Aid NSW.

LARC stands in the shoes of the original determining officer and taking into consideration all the relevant material, determines the appellant's appeal.

A legal aid applicant can appeal against a decision to refuse his or her application for legal aid. A legally aided person can appeal against a condition of the grant or a variation of a grant of aid which includes a decision to terminate legal aid.

Once LARC has determined the appeal, it will inform the appellant of its decision. The decision of LARC is final and there is no other avenue of appeal against a LARC decision.

Currently there are six committees; three committees to determine family law matters (which include the State care and protection jurisdiction) and three to determine criminal and civil law matters.

Each committee comprises three members. All members are appointed by the Legal Aid NSW Board: one member being nominated by the Bar Association and the Law Society, one nominated by the Attorney General, and the third member is a community member. All LARC members are voluntary.

For further information about LARC, see Schedule 7 of the Act, Policy 6.3 Representation: Allocating Legal Work  and Legal Aid Review Committee appeals guidelines.

Please note that not all decisions made by Legal Aid NSW can be appealed to LARC.

For enquiries relating to an appeal regarding termination/refusal of legal aid please contact (02) 9219 5880 (select Option 5) or via email: