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Forum test

Assessment criteria

For legal aid to be granted to an applicant who resides interstate the following test 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).
  • Any documentation that supports an applicant's eligibility under the relevant guideline.

Application received from preferred supplier or in-house practitioner

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

  • The appropriate information request or checklist.
  • Proof of income and assets (refer to the means test).
  • Any documentation that supports an applican's eligibility under the relevant guideline.

The following documents should be retained on file:

  • A completed and signed Legal Aid Queensland application form.
  • Supporting financial information.

Interpretation

Family Law

Application for a Family Dispute Resolution Conference

The forum test does not apply to grants of aid for family dispute resolution conferences if court proceedings have not commenced at the time of the application for legal aid. The legal aid body that receives the application for legal aid will assess the application and if appropriate convene the conference only.

If legal aid is subsequently requested for court proceedings, the forum test is applied and the process for determining applications for court proceedings detailed below applies.

Application for Court proceedings

No proceedings commenced - Where there are no proceedings commenced the legal aid body in the State/Territory where the children usually reside is responsible.

Where will the matter be heard? Where does the applicant live? Which legal aid body is responsible for funding?
Unknown (no court proceedings) Queensland/Other State or Territory State/Territory where the children usually reside

Proceedings commenced

Where proceedings have commenced the legal aid body in the State/Territory where the proceedings are likely to be heard is responsible. There are occasions where the managing registry may be in a different State/Territory to where the proceedings are likely to be heard and in these circumstances, the legal aid body where the matter is likely to be heard is responsible. For example the Brisbane Registry of the Family Court manages the listing of matters for hearing in Lismore - the forum is NSW not Queensland as the matters will be listed for hearing in NSW.

Where will the matter be heard? Where does the applicant live? Which legal aid body is responsible for funding?
Queensland Queensland/Other State or Territory Queensland
Other State or Territory Queensland/Other State or Territory Other State or Territory

Transfer of proceedings to a court of equivalent jurisdiction

If an application for change of venue is filed in the court, the legal aid body funding the matter will continue to fund the matter for the purposes of the application for change of venue and any continuing proceedings provided the legally aided applicant continues to reside in the funding body's State/Territory.

When a person to whom legal assistance has been granted by a State/Territory ceases to reside in that State/Territory or never resided in that State/Territory, and the proceedings are also transferred to a court outside that State/Territory, grants of legal assistance by the that State/Territory cease and a new application for a grant of legal assistance must be made to the Legal Aid body in the State/Territory where the proceedings will be heard.

Where will the matter be heard? Where does the applicant live? Which legal aid body is responsible for funding?
Queensland venue changes to other State/Territory

1 - Queensland
2 -Other State/Territory
3 - Queensland and moves to other State/Territory

1 - Queensland
2 - Other State/Territory
3 - Queensland terminates aid and new application needs to be made to other State/Territory
Other State/Territory venue changes to Queensland 1 - Queensland
2 - Other State/Territory
3 - Other State/Territory and moves to Queensland
1 - Queensland
2 - Other State/Territory
3 - Other State/Territory terminates aid and new application needs to be made to Queensland

Equivalent jurisdiction

A matter commencing in the family law jurisdiction of a State/Territory Magistrates Court and transferring to the Federal Circuit or Family Court of another State/Territory is considered to remain in the equivalent family law jurisdiction.

Family Law Cost Management Guideline

If the matter has been funded in another State/Territory the Commonwealth Family Law guideline 18 - Family law costs management continues to apply.

Commonwealth Criminal Law

In Commonwealth criminal law matters, the State/Territory where the court proceedings are likely to be heard is the State/Territory in which the alleged offence occurred and where charges are laid, unless the Commonwealth determines otherwise. For example a person charged with people smuggling, where the alleged crime has occurred in international waters, can be arrested and tried in any State/Territory the Commonwealth deems appropriate, which is supported by s70 of the Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth). Therefore, Legal Aid Queensland will only fund Commonwealth criminal law matters that are to be heard in Queensland.

State Criminal Law

In State criminal law matters, the State/Territory where the court proceedings are likely to be heard is the State/Territory in which the alleged offence occurred and where charges are laid. Therefore, Legal Aid Queensland will only fund State criminal law matters that are to be heard in Queensland.

Commonwealth Civil Law

In Commonwealth civil law matters, a person is at liberty to commence proceedings in whichever State/Territory they choose. Legal Aid Queensland will only fund Commonwealth civil law matters where the legal issue occurred in Queensland and where the matter is to be heard in Queensland.

State Civil Law

In State civil law matters the State/Territory where the proceedings are likely to be heard is usually the State/Territory where the legal issue occurred. Therefore, Legal Aid Queensland will only fund State civil law matters that are to be heard in Queensland.

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