For legal aid to be granted for a separate representative to make an application for or respond to an interim hearing the following tests must be satisfied:
Requests for aid for solicitor to appear at an interim child protection hearing will be referred to a senior grants officer for consideration.
Practitioners seeking a grant of legal assistance should electronically submit an extension request via Grants Online attaching the appropriate checklist.
When applying the merits test in the context of an interim hearing consideration will be given to:
- Whether the Separate Representative is applying for or responding to an application in proceedings.
- Whether there has been a material change in circumstances since the court made the assessment or interim order.
- When the final hearing is likely to be held.
- If the issue is sufficiently urgent so that it is essential that the issue is resolved prior to the next scheduled court date.
- Whether the issue could be resolved by way of a case plan review meeting.
Grant(s) of aid
The interim hearing grant of aid available to Separate Representatives is:
This is a maximum fee grant of aid that allows for preparation and attendance at the interim hearing.
Extension(s) of aid
The SR3 grant of aid is available if a practitioner is required to attend at more court attendances than provided on any existing grants of aid.
The SR3 grant of aid allows for appearances at a further 2 attendances and can be issued more than once if required.
Court attendances include appearances at court for a mention, hearing, or attendances to inspect subpoena material.
Family group meetings / case plan review meetings
The SR6 grant of aid is available if the separate representative is required to attend a further family group meeting or case plan review meeting during stage two of proceedings.
An extension of may be available for counsel at interim hearing if the nature and extent of funding criteria are met.
If the matter proceeds beyond stage two, extensions of aid may be available to continue representation at the following stages:
Review of decisions
A decision to refuse legal aid for this type of matter may be appealed to the external review officer (refer to review of decisions).