In this section
START OF Policies and procedures
START OF Grants Handbook
START OF Applying for aid
END OF Applying for aid
END OF Grants Handbook
END OF Policies and procedures
For legal aid to be granted all applicants must meet the means test unless:
Applications for aid that are to be considered under the means test special circumstance guidelines will be referred to a grants manager for determination.
An applicant must provide Legal Aid Queensland with details regarding their financial circumstances, including all income and assets and information about the financial circumstances of anyone who provides financial help.
Legal Aid Queensland uses some or all of the following documentation to assess an applicants financial eligibility for aid depending on their circumstances:
When electronically lodging applications for aid practitioners must ensure that they retain copies of the client's payslips, bank statements and/or Centrelink income statement for audit purposes. If the client is temporarily in custody and it is not possible to obtain this documentation the practitioner must obtain this at the earliest available opportunity.
Some matters are deemed to be low risk by Legal Aid Queensland and may require less detailed verification for the purposes of determining financial eligibility. Higher risk matters required additional supporting material for the purposes of verification of financial eligibility and for some matters, material in addition to that listed above, may be requested.
Financial help is where another person regularly gives you money, helps pay your bills or shares your living expenses. This could be a relative, friend, or your current or former partner or spouse. If you are in dispute with a person you usually receive financial help from, we will not take their income and assets into account.
Special consideration may be given to applicants who experience multiple disadvantages where their assets exceed the limit set out in the means test where the request for legal assistance meets the applicable guidelines and merits tests but the applicant would be excluded from approval of a grant because their assets exceed the thresholds set out in the means test.
In determining whether an applicant experiences multiple disadvantages, the assessing officer will consider whether the applicant meets any of the following criteria:
For the purposes of this policy applicants in receipt of a veterans pension are not deemed to be automatically eligible under the income test.
The income test will be applied in these matters unless the applicant is applying for aid to appeal:
Low risk matters are:
If a low risk family or civil law matter generates a further request to proceed to a more expensive stage or a criminal law matter generates an expensive case request further financial eligibility testing will be undertaken.
Under this process for low risk matters, LAQ requires the following:
Low Risk Category Matters Matrix
Only applicable where the following criteria are met:
Low risk matter types
Verification requirements dependent on circumstances
If the applicant for aid is in custody (i.e. ordered by the court to remain in custody) and immediately prior to custody was reliant on a full Centrelink benefit for income, or the applicant for aid has recently been released from corrective services custody with a pending Centrelink assessment, no financial verification documents need to be provided.
If the applicant for aid is in custody (i.e. ordered by the court to remain in custody) and immediately prior to being in custody was not reliant on a full Centrelink payment for income, full verification** (applicant and financially associated persons) needs to be provided.
If the applicant for aid is not in custody and:
- lives in a remote location*, is reliant on full Centrelink payment for income and access to services restricts their ability to get a copy of their Centrelink Income Statement - no financial verification documents need to be provided.
- lives in a remote location*, is reliant on full Centrelink payment for income and access to services is not restricting their ability to get a copy of their Centrelink Income Statement - Centrelink Income Statement (applicant and financially associated persons) needs to be provided.
- lives in a remote location* and the client is not reliant on full Centrelink payment for income - Full verification** (applicant and financially associated persons) needs to be provided.
* Remote means:
** Full verification (for applicant and financially associated person) means:
Last updated 11 October 2021