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Dietrich applications

Assessment criteria

For legal aid to be granted for a Dietrich application the following tests 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.
  • Relevant proof of income and assets (refer to means test).
  • A copy of the charge or charges such as a notice to appear, bench charge sheet or Queensland court brief (QP9) material.

Application received from preferred supplier or in-house practitioner

Preferred suppliers 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.
  • relevant proof of income and assets (refer to the means test).

The following documents are retained on file:

Interpretation

Guideline 8 – Dietrich applications provides that legal assistance will not normally be provided for the purpose of an accused person conducting an application before a court seeking, pursuant to the decision of the High Court in Dietrich's case, an adjournment or stay of the case until legal representation is available.

Legal Aid Queensland will not normally make a grant of legal assistance for a Dietrich application as it would be inconsistent with an earlier decision to refuse assistance on the ground that the applicant does not meet the means test or merit test.

Dietrich application

A Dietrich application is an application to a court seeking an adjournment or stay of their case until they obtain legal representation in reliance on the decision of the High Court of Australia in Dietrich v The Queen.

Dietrich v The Queen was an important case which was decided in the High Court of Australia on 13 November 1992. It concerned the nature of the right to a fair trial, and under what circumstances indigent defendants (defendants who cannot afford legal representation) should be provided with legal aid by the state. The case determined that although there is no absolute right to have publicly funded counsel, in most circumstances a judge should grant any request for an adjournment or stay when an accused is unrepresented.

Decision makers of a higher delegation

Requests for aid for a Dietrich application will be referred to a grants manager for consideration.

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).

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