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Inquests

Assessment criteria

For legal aid to be granted for representation at an inquest 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).
  • Copies of any documentation relating to the inquest (ie the letter from the coroner, police statements etc).
  • Details of the applicants relationship to the deceased person.

Application received from preferred supplier or in-house solicitors

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

  • Copies of any documentation relating to the inquest (ie the letter from the coroner, police statements etc).
  • Details of the applicants relationship to the deceased person.
  • Proof of income and assets (refer to the means test).

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

  • A completed and signed Legal Aid Queensland application form.

Interpretation

The applicant has in some way been involved in the death or deaths and may be criminally charged

Legal aid funding for legal representation at an inquest should be considered when the applicant has in some way been involved in the death or deaths and may be criminally charged. An example of this is when the applicant was the driver of a motor vehicle involved in a single vehicle accident which resulted in the death of one or more of the passengers of the motor vehicle. The circumstances of the accident will be investigated at the inquest and if the corner makes a finding that indicates the applicant was responsible for the death(s), the coroner may make a recommendation to the Director of Public Prosecutions that the applicant be charged with dangerous driving causing death.

There is a substantial public interest element

Legal aid funding should be considered where there is a substantial public interest element. This means the case will have a direct or indirect benefit on other claims in Queensland and involves multiple claimants who reside in Queensland.

Death in custody

A death will be a death in custody if the person died while in custody, escaping from custody or trying to avoid being put into custody. ‘Custody’ is broadly defined to capture detention under any state or commonwealth legislation (with some limited exceptions) whether or not by police.

Grant(s) of aid

The grant of aid for solicitor prepare for and conduct inquest/coronial enquiry is INQ1.

Extension(s) of aid

Counsel

An extension of aid may be sought for solicitor and counsel to prepare for and conduct an inquest/coronial enquiry. The matter must meet the assessment criteria for counsel in civil law matters.

The grant of aid for solicitor and counsel to prepare for and conduct inquest/coronial enquiry is INQ2.

Additional days

The grant of aid for solicitor only to attend an inquest/coronial inquiry on additional days is INQ3.

The grant of aid for solicitor and counsel to attend an inquest/coronial Inquiry on additional days is INQ4.

Decision makers of a higher delegation

All applications to determine requests for aid for coronial inquests on the basis of public interest only are considered by the assistant director grants.

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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