For legal aid to be granted for a family dispute resolution conference, the following tests must be satisfied:
Applicants for a conference:
Respondents to an invitation to a conference:
If the matter has or will exceed the cap as outlined in guideline 18.2 – limit on costs, the matter will be referred to a Grants Manager for consideration.
Application received from client
Applicants seeking a grant of legal assistance should forward the following documents for assessment:
- A completed and signed Legal Aid application form.
- Proof of income and assets (refer to the means test).
- Details of your parenting dispute.
- Copies of any documents which are relevant to the parenting dispute (i.e. parenting agreements, any relevant court orders, letters from the other party's solicitor, letters from a child welfare authority etc.).
Application received from an in-house practitioner or preferred supplier
Practitioners seeking a grant of legal assistance should electronically submit an application for aid or an extension of aid request through Grants Online with the relevant information request and attach:
- Details of the parenting dispute.
- Copies of any documents which are relevant to the parenting dispute (i.e. parenting agreements, any relevant court orders, letters from the other parties solicitor, letters from a child welfare authority etc.).
The practitioner must also ensure that the following documents are retained on file:
Guideline 2 - Family Dispute Resolution
See interpretation of guideline 2 - family dispute resolution.
Guideline 12 - Property
See interpretation of guideline 12 - property
Address of the other party not provided by the applicant
It is a legislative requirement that before a certificate can be issued Legal Aid Queensland has to issue two invitations to the other party to mediate, one of which must be in writing. If the applicant is not able to provide the address for the other party, a family dispute resolution conference cannot be approved.
Grant(s) of aid
If it is determined that an applicant meets the assessment criteria for a family dispute resolution conference, the assessing officer will issue one of the following non-monetary grants of aid:
- FFF for in-house solicitors and preferred suppliers
- AFFF for ATSILS
- CFFF for CLC's
The assessing officer will then refer the file to the dispute resolution team to invite all parties to the conference.
If all parties agree that they will attend the conference and the matter does not fall within the exclusions listed under guideline 2.2.2 – appropriateness of participation in FDR services, the conference organiser will issue one of the following grants of aid:
The conference organiser will issue the FDR3 grant of aid on the applicant's file for the family dispute resolution practitioner. If a second family dispute resolution practitioner is appointed to chair the legal aid conference, the FDR4 grant will also be issued.
Extension(s) of aid
If the conference does not proceed or the parties do not reach an agreement at the conference, an extension of aid can be sought to initiate or respond to court proceedings and representation up to an interim hearing.
All applications received from parties who have been invited to attend a LAQ family dispute resolution conference are referred to the relevant conference organiser for consideration.
If the dispute includes property settlement, funding will be provided subject to the right to recover a retrospective contribution.
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).