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Legal Aid grants in employment law matters

Grants of legal aid are available in the following employment law matters.

  • Unfair dismissal proceedings in Fair Work Australia and the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW.
  • Unfair work contract proceedings in the Federal Magistrates Court or the Federal Court.
  • Small claims for unpaid entitlements (up to $20,000) in the Federal Magistrates Court, the Chief Industrial Magistrates Court and some other Courts. The worker must have exhausted other resolution avenues, for example making a complaint to the Fair Work Ombudsman.
  • Proceedings for contravention of the Fair Work Act in the Federal Court or the Federal Magistrates Court – where there has been a breach of the:
    • 'workplace rights' protection
    • protection against discrimination
    • 'absence for illness' protection
    • 'sham contractor arrangements' protection.

The worker must be at special disadvantage in all grant matters, except in the case of discrimination proceedings. ‘Special disadvantage’ requires that the worker be:

  • a child, or
  • have substantial difficulty in dealing with the legal system because of a substantial:
    • psychiatric condition
    • developmental disability
    • intellectual disability, or
    • physical disability.

The worker must also meet the means and merit tests.

The information about legal aid grants on this page is only a summary. Detailed information is available within chapter 6 of Policy Online 'Civil law matters - when legal aid is available'.