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The Civil Law Legal Aid Scheme (CLLAS) is an outlays only scheme helping financially disadvantaged people get access to justice for civil law claims where Legal Aid Queensland doesn’t give grants of aid.
Outlays are expenses like expert investigations and medical reports, court filing fees and fees to copy documents. The scheme doesn't cover legal professional fees (eg getting a lawyer to represent you) and lawyers must agree to act on a 'no win, no fee' (speculative) basis.
The CLLAS is funded by the Public Trustee of Queensland and administered by Legal Aid Queensland. The scheme operates under its own funding guidelines (PDF, 82KB) separate to Legal Aid Queensland's grants of aid.
The CLLAS will consider funding civil law claims, including claims for personal injury, 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.
The CLLAS doesn't cover funding for:
You should get legal advice before making an application to the CLLAS. It's important to get legal advice as soon as possible as there are laws which set strict time limits.
Some private legal practices may give free initial consultations but you should check this when you make an appointment. Legal Aid Queensland lawyers don't give legal advice or provide representation in personal injury claims.
Getting legal advice from a legal professional will help you understand your legal rights and verify the claim’s prospects of success to help you decide whether it’s financially worthwhile to go ahead.
The CLLAS has a panel of private legal practices approved to do CLLAS work who have agreed to act on a ‘no win, no fee’ (speculative) basis in accordance with the scheme’s guidelines. These approved legal practices are not obliged to represent clients and will only do so if they consider the claim meets their requirements.
If you need financial help to cover the cost of outlays, the CLLAS team can assess the suitability of your civil law claim for assistance and refer you to an approved legal practice.
Call 1300 65 11 88 for more information or read the CLLAS a client’s guide or a lawyer’s guide.
The 3 sets of criteria used to determine if someone is eligible for a CLLAS grant of aid are:
The funding guidelines tell us the types of cases we can fund. To be eligible for funding under the scheme the following criteria must be met:
The CLLAS has adopted Legal Aid Queensland’s means test guidelines to assess an applicant’s financial eligibility, except for the criteria relating to equity in an applicant’s principal place of residence. Under the CLLAS guidelines, an applicant may have equity in their home of up to $320,000.
For more information about our financial eligibility requirements read the Can I get legal aid? factsheet.
Under the merits test consideration is given to:
After getting legal advice and finding an approved legal practice who has agreed to represent you on a ‘no win, no fee’ (speculative) basis, you can ask your lawyer to help you apply to the CLLAS for a grant of aid.
You'll need to complete a CLLAS application form (PDF, 485KB) and provide verification of your means (eg provide a copy of your centrelink income statement or payslips and current bank statements).
Your lawyer will submit your application to the CLLAS along with a completed CLLAS checklist (PDF, 168KB) or letter with details about your claim, relevant supporting documentation and a budget for outlays needed to prepare your claim for settlement negotiations.
Email the application to: firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred)
Or write to:
The Civil Law Legal Aid Scheme coordinator
Legal Aid Queensland
GPO Box 2449 Brisbane Qld 4001
Funding provided by the CLLAS isn't free. 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 (they aren't covered by the CLLAS).
If your CLLAS application is approved, you will need to sign a Client Agreement and Acknowledgement (PDF, 245KB), agreeing to refund the scheme any outlays paid on your behalf on the successful or partially successful conclusion of your claim. This is part of the condition of a grant of aid.
If your lawyer can't 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 unsuccessful. This means you may have to pay the other party’s legal costs, and these can't 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 the other party’s legal costs before proceeding with your claim.
If your claim isn't successful, you won't have to pay your lawyer's fees or refund the CLLAS.