For legal aid to be granted for the independent representation of children in the Family Law Courts the following tests must be satisfied:
Legal aid for independent children’s lawyers is only provided upon receipt of a copy of a court order requesting Legal Aid Queensland to appoint an ICL.
The merits test
Legal Aid Queensland normally deems matters where the court has ordered an ICL be appointed to meet the merits test; however, Legal Aid Queensland will also have regard to the appropriateness of spending limited public funds test.
Allocation of a solicitor
In order to undertake ICL work practitioners must be appointed to the specialist ICL Legal Aid panel.
The independent representation of children will be provided on an in-house basis unless there is a conflict of interest or a lack of capacity.
Grant(s) of aid
The grant of aid for an ICL to peruse the court file is IC1.
Extension(s) of aid
Stage 1 - dispute resolution
ICLs seeking an extension of aid for a dispute resolution conference must complete and submit a family dispute resolution information request via grants on-line.
- The initial grant of aid for a dispute resolution conference is FFF.
- If the conference proceeds, the conference organiser will issue an FDR2.
Stage 2 – litigation
Where trial directions have not been made, an extension of aid is available for preparation and attendance up until trial directions are made:
- The grant of aid for representation up to trial direction is IC2A and IC2D (both grants of aid to be issued at the same time).
If trial directions are not issued after three court attendances, an extension of aid for additional standard hours is available when additional court attendances are required.
- The grant of aid for additional standard hours up to trial directions is IC2B.
For the purposes of this grant court attendances include appearances at court for a mention, hearing, or attendances to inspect subpoena material.
If the funding guidelines are met extensions of aid are available for:
Stage 3 – trial preparation
Once trial directions are issued, an extension of aid is available to prepare for trial:
- The grant of aid for solicitor and counsel is IC3A.
- If the solicitor is appearing as a solicitor advocate the grant of aid is ICS1.
- If counsel is replaced prior to trial, the grant of aid is ICC2.
If the trial does not commence after two court appearances, an extension of aid for additional standard hours is available when an additional court appearance is required.
- The grant of aid for additional standard hours up to the trial commencing is IC3B.
Additional funding to prepare for trial is only available if the additional preparation criteria are met.
Stage 4 – representation at trial
If the matter proceeds to trial, the following grants of aid are available:
Day one of trial
- IC4A – day one of trial (solicitor and counsel)
- ICS4 – day one of trial (solicitor advocate)
Additional days of trial
- IC4B – additional days of trial (solicitor and counsel)
- ICS6 – additional days (solicitor advocate)
- ICC3 – day of trial for replacement counsel
If the trial is adjourned, additional funding to prepare for an adjourned trial may be available if the additional preparation criteria are met.
If a solicitor is required to attend court after trial attendance is granted and for specific events that are not included within the days of trial grants then the IC4C grant of aid is available for each appearance
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).