Legal Aid Queensland provides assistance in the following defence force appeals:
- appeals in matters pursuant to the Veterans' Entitlements Act
- appeals in matters pursuant to Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act
- appeals pursuant to the Safety Rehabilitation & Compensation Act
- any other defence force appeal at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal stage.
Assistance cannot be provided by Legal Aid Queensland until all internal appeal processes have been exhausted. Therefore, Legal Aid Queensland can only assist once your matter reaches the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) or Federal Court stage.
Who manages defence matters?
All applications for legal aid in veterans' matters (whether electronically transmitted or sent in by post) throughout Queensland are centralised in the Legal Aid Queensland's Brisbane office and managed by the Grants Officer – Veterans, who may be contacted on 1300 65 11 88 (for the cost of a local call from a landline in Australia).
War Veterans' Legal Aid Scheme
Legal Aid Queensland receives funding from the Commonwealth Government to provide assistance under the War Veterans' Legal Aid Scheme to veterans or to dependants of a veteran who require a grant of aid in relation to the following:
Appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal from a decision of the Veterans' Review Board about war caused disability pension entitlements or assessment claims under Part II of the Veterans Entitlement Act. Part II of the Veterans Entitlement Act is concerned with disability pensions only. It covers matters such as:
- eligibility for a disability pension
- verification determinations for reinstated pensioners
- claims and applications for increases in pensionsrates of pensions payable to veterans
- rates of pensions payable to dependents of a deceased veteran
- effect of certain compensation payments
- review of pensions by the commission.
Appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal from decisions of the Veterans' Review Board about claims under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act relating to warlike or non warlike service, in regard to:
- acceptance of liability
- rehabilitation programs
- permanent impairment
- incapacity payments for former members
- special rate disability pension
- dependents benefits.
Assistance provided under the War Veterans' Legal Aid Scheme is not subject to the means test. However funding at each stage is subject to a merits assessment. Therefore, it is not necessary to complete the financial section of an application for legal aid in these matters.
The merit test applied to veterans' matters is the same merit test applied in all legally aided matters. There are three facets to this test as follows:
- Legal and factual merit – the "reasonable prospects of success" test;
- The "prudent self-funding litigant" test; and
- The "appropriateness of spending limited public legal aid funds" test.
Assistance in any other defence force matter
How can Legal Aid Queensland assist you in any other Defence Force Matters which cannot be pursued under the War Veterans' Legal Aid Scheme?
These matters can only be considered under general Commonwealth guidelines for legal assistance. Any assistance provided under the general guidelines is subject to both a means test and merits assessment.
The means test is applicable in all other defence force matters not covered under the War Veterans' Legal Aid Scheme and is accessible through the factsheet on this website. Therefore, Legal Aid Queensland will require full details of your financial circumstances, and proof of this needs to be retained on your solicitor's file, or forwarded to Legal Aid Queensland's Brisbane office if the application is not being made by a solicitor.
Refund of money expended by Legal Aid Queensland
For any defence force matter that can not be pursued under the War Veterans' Legal Aid Scheme, it may be necessary for an assisted person to refund all or part of the moneys expended by Legal Aid Queensland at the successful conclusion of the matter.
To enable Legal Aid Queensland to consider whether or not a refund is payable, it is essential that we are advised of the benefit received by you as a result of the grant of legal aid. For example, if you receive a lump sum back payment of a pension, Legal Aid Queensland will require you to advise the total amount of this payment to enable the refund to be calculated.
How do you make an application for legal aid?
An "application for legal aid" form can be obtained by contacting Legal Aid Queensland on 1300 65 11 88 or by visiting one of our offices located throughout the state.
Due to the complexities involved with some veteran/defence force matters, it is preferable that you contact a solicitor on the Legal Aid Queensland Preferred Supplier list who will be able to assist you to complete your application, ensuring all relevant information is submitted the first time.
Legal Aid Queensland has a list of practitioners consisting of firms throughout the state who are able to assist in veteran/defence force matters. Contact the Grants Officer - Veterans on 1300 65 11 88 for the names of firms in your area.
What information do you need to provide to enable Legal Aid Queensland to assess an application for legal aid?
The following information may be required in order to assess an application for legal aid in a veteran/defence force matter:
- a copy of the Veterans' Review Board decision or decision of the relevant party
- why you consider the decision to be wrong
- which parts of the decision you intend to appeal, if only part of the decision is being appealed
- details of your defence service, including which defence force, dates, and places served.
Please note the above is only an example of the information which may be required in veteran/defence force matters. Further information may be requested by this office upon receipt of an application for legal aid.
For further information relating to either veterans' matters or other defence force matters, contact the Grants officer – Veterans in Legal Aid Queensland's Brisbane office on 1300 65 11 88.