Legal Aid is a government funded scheme designed to help socially and economically disadvantaged people access legal services.
To qualify for Legal Aid funding in your matter, you’ll need to satisfy a means test and a merits test.
The means test is in relation to your financial circumstances. The test is designed to determine whether your financial circumstances would allow you to pay your own legal fees.
Some of the things taken into account are your income, assets, and whether you have a partner, family member or some other financially associated person who could assist you to pay your own legal fees.
The merits test allows Legal Aid to assess whether they are willing to fund the case you want to run. For example, is your case likely to succeed and is what you’re asking for, something that the Court is likely to Order in the circumstances?
If there is a Family Report in your matter, are you seeking Orders in line with what has been recommended, or are the Orders you seek different to the recommendations?
A Legal Aid application form. You can download one online, get one from Legal Aid, or ask us to email one to you.
Details about your financial circumstances including Centrelink statement, bank statements, pay slips and other relevant information; and
Details about the financial circumstances of your current spouse, de facto partner or other people who provide for you financially; and
The contribution fee required on the basis of your financial circumstances.
It’s also important to keep in mind that Legal Aid applications can take some time to be processed. This waiting period can be as long as 6-8 weeks for some types of applications.
The wait time largely depends upon what type of application you’re making (for example, whether you need funding for mediation or for Court proceedings) and how urgent the circumstances are. It can also simply depend on the number of applications Legal Aid are processing.