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Need help with a civil law claim? Check out the Civil Law Legal Aid Scheme
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The Civil Law Legal Aid Scheme (CLLAS) is an outlays only scheme that helps financially disadvantaged people who have a civil law claim. Outlays are expenses like expert reports, court filing fees and fees to copy documents. The scheme does not cover legal professional fees and lawyers must agree to act on a speculative or ‘no win, no fee’ basis.
The CLLAS is funded by The Public Trustee of Queensland and administered by Legal Aid Queensland. The scheme operates under its own guidelines and is separate to Legal Aid Queensland grants of aid.
The CLLAS will consider funding civil law claims, including personal injuries claims, that meet its funding guidelines. Priority is given to matters involving children or matters where you will lose your home or livelihood if you don’t take legal action. The scheme can also help with public interest and ‘test’ cases, where other people would benefit in the future from your case going before a court.
What cases won’t you fund?
You will need to meet the following criteria to be eligible for funding under the scheme:
You must meet the CLLAS means and merits tests or the public interest/test case criteria. For more information about the means test, merits test and other criteria, you can view the scheme’s guidelines at www.legalaid.qld.gov.au or contact us and we can send you a copy.
Our client information officers can give you information about the scheme and explain the means test. If they believe the scheme may be able to help you with your civil law claim they will refer you to the CLLAS coordinator.
We will contact you to discuss the scheme and assess whether your claim meets our funding guidelines. We cannot give you legal advice about your claim.
If the scheme can help you, we will write to you and explain how the scheme works and what you need to do to apply. We will also include a list of CLLAS approved legal practices in your region.
Contact an approved legal practice and make an appointment to have an initial consultation with a lawyer. Some legal practices provide free initial consultations, but you should check this when you make your appointment. It is important you get legal advice as soon as possible as strict time limits apply. If the lawyer advises that your claim has reasonable prospects of success, you should ask the legal practice to represent you on a speculative (‘no win, no fee’) basis. The legal practice does not have to act on a speculative basis—they will only do so if your claim meets their requirements.
Find out how much you would have to pay the lawyer if your claim is successful and you receive a payment or financial gain (money and/or property). You should get these fees in writing and sign a costs agreement. You do not have to pay your lawyer until your claim has been successfully finalised.
The legal practice can help you complete a CLLAS Application form. The legal practice will submit your application to the CLLAS together with all relevant information to support your claim.
The budget will outline the initial outlays needed to prepare your case for settlement negotiations. Outlays are things like expert reports, court filing fees and fees to copy documents etc. Outlays do not include professional fees for legal practice staff or barristers. We will consider funding the outlays identified in the budget provided by your lawyer.
We will assess your application when we receive your completed and signed application, all relevant information to support your claim, a budget for outlays and confirmation a CLLAS approved legal practice has agreed to represent you on a speculative basis. We will assess your application in line with the CLLAS guidelines.
If your application is approved, you must agree to repay the scheme any outlays it pays on your behalf. You will need to sign a Client Agreement and Acknowledgement. By signing the form you agree to refund these outlays to the CLLAS if your claim is successful and you receive a payment or financial gain (money and/or property).
Your lawyer will prepare your claim and attempt to negotiate a settlement. Hopefully you can sort out your claim through negotiation and it will settle without needing to go to court.
If your lawyer cannot negotiate a settlement, your claim may have to go before a court or tribunal. You should keep in mind the court could award costs against you if your claim is not successful. This means you could have to pay the other party’s legal costs. These costs cannot be claimed from the CLLAS, Legal Aid Queensland or The Public Trustee of Queensland. You should talk to your lawyer about the possibility of having to pay legal costs.
If your claim is successful or partially successful and you receive a payment or financial gain (money and/or property), you must refund the CLLAS for all outlays paid on your behalf. You will also have to pay your lawyer’s fees.
If your claim is not successful you do not have to pay your lawyer’s fees or refund the CLLAS for any outlays paid on your behalf.
Your funding may be varied or cancelled if:
There is no right of appeal for a decision to refuse aid under the scheme. However, we can reassess your application if you provide new relevant information to the scheme.
The CLLAS coordinator
Legal Aid Queensland
GPO Box 2449 Brisbane Qld 4001
Phone 1300 65 11 88www.legalaid.qld.gov.au
This service is funded by The Public Trustee of Queensland and administered by Legal Aid Queensland.