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Civil Law Legal Aid Scheme—a solicitor's guide

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What is the Civil Law Legal Aid Scheme?

The Civil Law Legal Aid Scheme (CLLAS) provides Queenslanders with financial assistance with civil law claims when a grant of aid is not available from Legal Aid Queensland. The scheme provides assistance to cover some of the costs involved in preparing a client’s claim for settlement negotiations or court proceedings (if needed).

Who runs the scheme?

The CLLAS is funded by The Public Trustee of Queensland and is administered by Legal Aid Queensland.

What matters does the CLLAS fund?

The CLLAS will consider funding outlays for any civil law claim where:

  • a grant of aid is not available from Legal Aid Queensland
  • an approved firm agrees to provide services on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, speculating their professional fees
  • the claim can be dealt with by a Queensland court.

Personal injury cases are usually given funding priority. The CLLAS may also fund public interest and test cases.

Who considers applications?

The CLLAS Advisory Committee assesses all applications. The committee has two members, one from Legal Aid Queensland and one from The Public Trustee of Queensland.

What does the committee consider when assessing an application?

The committee considers:

  • the possible negative impacts on the applicant if they do not receive aid
  • the possible positive impacts the applicant would gain if aid is approved
  • the financial resources available to the scheme at the time
  • the claim’s legal merit.

The committee can refuse an application if it does not receive enough information to independently assess the claim’s merit.

Does the means test apply?

Yes. Legal Aid Queensland’s income and assets test applies to all applications. Clients must provide recent pay slips, bank account statements and copies of health care or pension cards to prove their financial eligibility.

What scale of costs apply?

Solicitor’s have to speculate their professional fees and agree not to seek or receive funds until a matter has successfully ended.

Will my client have to refund any money to Legal Aid?

If your client’s claim is successful or partially successful, they will have to refund all assistance provided to them by the CLLAS. No refund is required if your client’s claim is unsuccessful.

Full details about reimbursing the scheme are contained in the CLLAS Acknowledgment, which is signed by the client and their solicitor at the start of the process.

How do we become a CLLAS approved firm?

To access funding for a client, your firm needs to be approved by the scheme as a preferred supplier.

To obtain a copy of the criteria to become a CLLAS preferred supplier, contact the CLLAS coordinator on (07) 3238 3486 (solicitors only).

How do I make a CLLAS application?

Step 1 – Complete a legal aid application form

Your client should complete a legal aid application form. Please ensure all relevant information anddocuments are provided and sign the solicitor’s certification.

Step 2 – Provide a covering letter

Your firm should provide a covering letter for the application. The letter should include:

  • a summary of the claim
  • supporting evidence (ie copies of traffic incident reports, a notice of claim, witness statements)
  • a budget of outlays required to prepare the claim for settlement negotiations or court proceedings
  • a solicitor’s assessment of the claim’s prospects of success and the basis for this opinion
  • a solicitor’s assessment of the range of quantum for the claim
  • confirmation your firm is acting on a speculative basis and will represent the client according to the CLLAS guidelines.

The application can be lodged when the solicitor has completed a preliminary investigation of the claim and has all the relevant information and documents to provide to the committee.

Step 3 – Submit the application

Send the covering letter, application form and documentation to:

The Coordinator
Civil Law Legal Aid Scheme
c/o Legal Aid Queensland
GPO Box 2449
Brisbane QLD 4001

How is legal aid approved?

Aid can be provided for the expenses specified in your outlays budget or at the following stages:

  • for settlement purposes
  • up to close of pleadings
  • to hold a mediation conference
  • to enter trial and proceed to a hearing.

Please ensure your client’s grant of aid has been approved before incurring expenses. The scheme may refuse to refund expenses incurred before the committee’s decision to grant aid.

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