For legal aid to be granted for counsel to be instructed in a summary trial for the cross-examination of a protected witness for a domestic violence offence or domestic violence related offence, the following tests must be satisfied:
- the court has made an order pursuant to s21O of the Evidence Act 1977 for Legal Aid Queensland to provide a free grant of legal assistance to the defendant.
- the defendant has been provided aid for the summary proceedings, and
- the request meets the merits test, and
there is sufficient complexity which warrants representation by counsel.
Applications for aid for counsel in a summary trial (DV related offence) where an order was made pursuant to s21O of the Evidence Act 1997 will be determined by a senior grants officer.
Extension of aid requests received from preferred suppliers or in-house practitioners
If a practitioner requires aid for counsel in a summary matter the practitioner must lodge an extension of aid request through the Grants Online system and advise how the matter meets the merits test with particular reference made to "appropriateness of spending limited public legal aid funds" test, and the "prudent self-funding litigant" test.
When determining whether an applicant meets the merits test, Legal Aid Queensland will consider whether aid for counsel is warranted with regards to the "appropriateness of spending limited public legal aid funds" test, and the "prudent self-funding litigant" test.
There is sufficient complexity which requires the expertise of counsel
Legal Aid Queensland considers that counsel may be warranted if there is sufficient complexity which requires the expertise of counsel. In making this determination, Legal Aid Queensland take into account the gravity of the matter and the possible impact the judgment would have on the client.
Legal Aid Queensland considers a matter to be sufficiently complex when:
- The proper conduct of the case requires substantial cross-examination of numerous witnesses.
- The admissibility of evidence is contested or matters of law will require significant and detailed legal argument.
- Expert evidence is relied upon to support the prosecution or defence case and significant examination or cross-examination of witnesses will be required.
Grant(s) of aid
Where the court has made an order pursuant to s21O of the Evidence Act 1977 for Legal Aid Queensland to provide a free grant of legal assistance to a defendant charged with a domestic violence order-related offence, the grant of aid for counsel is XW2.
Extension(s) of aid
The grant of aid for additional days of summary trial for counsel for orders made pursuant to s21O of the Evidence Act 1997 is XW4.
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).