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Equal opportunity and discrimination

Assessment criteria

For legal aid to be granted for an equal opportunity and discrimination matter the following tests must be satisfied:

Documentary requirements

Application received from client

Applicants seeking a grant of legal assistance should forward all of the following documents for assessment:

  • A completed and signed Legal Aid Queensland application form.
  • Proof of income and assets (refer to the means test).
  • If a complaint has already been made to the Queensland Human Rights Commission or the Australian Human Rights Commission, a copy of the complaint and response (if any) and any other relevant correspondence.

Application received from preferred supplier or in-house practitioner

Preferred suppliers seeking a grant of legal assistance should electronically submit an application for aid via the Grants Online system with:

  • The appropriate information request or checklist.
  • Proof of income and assets (refer to the means test).

If a complaint has already been made to Queensland Human Rights Commission or the Australian Human rights Commission, the practitioner should provide a copy of the complaint and response (if any) and any other relevant correspondence.

The practitioner must also ensure that the following documents are retained on file:

Interpretation

Circumstances in which Legal Aid Queensland will grant aid to file a complaint to the Queensland Human Rights Commission or the Australian Human Rights Commission

Where an applicant has not made a complaint to the Queensland Human Rights Commission or the Australian Human Rights Commission and has a disability or disadvantage which precludes them from preparing and lodging the initial complaint aid is available for the purpose of assisting an applicant in circumstances.

Disability or disadvantage

An applicant will be provided funding under this guideline when the disability or disadvantage policy is met.

Prospects of success

Legal Aid Queensland will consider an applicants prospects of success by taking into account all relevant documentation and correspondence in relation to the complaint.

To determine an applicants prospects of success, assessing officers refer the matters to Legal Aid Queensland’s anti-discrimination team. An in-house solicitor within this team will provide their opinion to the assessing officer in relation to the clients prospects of success.

If a complaint has already been accepted by the Queensland Human Rights Commission or the Australian Human Rights Commission and set down for a conciliation conference, Legal Aid Queensland considers that the matter meets the prospects of success component of the merits test and aid will be approved for representation at the conciliation conference provided that the means test is met.

Strong prospect of substantial benefit being gained by the applicant and by the public or section of the public

When determining substantial benefit Legal Aid Queensland will take into consideration:

  • What the applicant is trying to achieve by lodging the complaint.
  • What the potential outcome is.
  • Whether a financial benefit is likely to be obtained.
  • How the community will benefit by the complaint being lodged.
  • Whether any policies will be changed by relevant organisations/government departments and how this will benefit the public at large.

The monetary awards in this jurisdiction are very low. In cases such as these, it is often not a monetary award which the complainant perceives to be of benefit to them but the other types of orders such as public apology or acceptance of a job application after a refusal on discriminatory grounds. When assessing applications of this nature, consider what redress the applicant is seeking and why. Little emphasis should be placed on likely monetary award.

The applicant must also show that the public or section of the public will also substantially benefit from the complaint.

Allocation of a solicitor

Representation for these matters will be provided on an in-house basis unless there is a conflict of interest or the in-house solicitors do not have the capacity to take on additional matters.

Grant(s) of aid

The grant of aid to prepare and lodge a complaint to the Human Rights Commission is H1.

The grant of aid to prepare and appear at conciliation conference is H2.

The grant of aid to prepare and represent client in QCAT or Federal Circuit Court is H3.

The grant of aid to prepare for and attend day one of a discrimination hearing in the Federal Court is H3A.

Extension(s) of aid

The grant of aid to represent a client in QCAT or Federal Circuit Court (additional days) is H31.

The grant of aid for additional days of a discrimination hearing in the Federal Court is H3B.

Retrospective contributions

Grants of legal assistance for these types of matters may be approved on the condition that the applicant will pay a retrospective contribution.

Review of decisions

A decision to refuse legal aid for this type of matter may be appealed to the external review officer (refer to review of decisions).

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