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Stage 2.1 - Initiate or respond to court proceedings

Assessment criteria

In accordance with the Commonwealth family law guidelines, Legal Aid Queensland must consider whether it is appropriate to make a grant of legal assistance for an applicant to participate in family dispute resolution services before it considers making a grant of legal assistance for court proceedings. Legal Aid Queensland will only consider funding an applicant straight to court where the matter is urgent and therefore inappropriate for dispute resolution services.

For legal aid to be granted for stage 2.1 to initiate or respond to court proceedings and for representation until a substantive interim order about parenting is made the applicant must meet the following tests:

Decision makers of a higher delegation

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.

Documentary requirements

Applications/extension of aid requests 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.
  • Proof of your income and assets.
  • Details of your dispute with the other party.
  • Details of the final order you are seeking.
  • Copies of any relevant court applications, court orders or dispute resolution certificates.

If aid has already been granted and you are seeking an extension of aid, you should contact your solicitor to lodge the request for further funding. Alternatively, you can write to us requesting an extension of aid.

Applications/extension of aid requests received from preferred suppliers or in-house practitioners

Practitioners seeking a grant of legal assistance should electronically submit an application for aid or extension of aid request through Grants Online with the relevant information request and attach:

  • Copies of any relevant court applications, court orders or dispute resolution certificates

The following documents are to be retained on file but may be requested by Legal Aid Queensland:

Interpretation

Guideline 4.1 - assistance for parenting orders

See interpretation for guideline 4.1 - assistance for parenting orders.

Guideline 4.2 - assistance for applications to discharge or vary parenting arrangements

See interpretation for guideline 4.2 - assistance for applications to discharge or vary parenting arrangements.

Guideline 4.3 - assistance to parties who are not parents

See interpretation for guideline 4.3 - assistance to parties who are not parents.

Guideline 12 - property

See interpretation for guideline 12 - property.

Substantive interim orders about parenting

An interim order about parenting is when a decision has been made by the court or by consent about where the children live or how much time they spend with each party until further order.

An interim order about parenting is not an order where the only decision made is that an ICL be appointed, an adjournment for directions, a party undertakes drug testing, the parties undergo counselling, the parties attend a family consultant, the parties obtain a family report.

Grant(s) of aid

The grant of aid to initiate or respond to proceedings is FM2A.

Extension(s) of aid

The grant of aid to initiate or respond to proceedings provides for up to three court appearances.  For the purposes of this grant court attendances include appearances at court for a mention, hearing or attendances to inspect subpoena material.

If an interim order about parenting is not made after three court appearances, the FM2B grant of aid is available for each additional court appearance until a substantive interim order about parenting is made.

If a matter proceeds beyond stage 2.1 solicitors can apply for an extension of aid to continue onto the following stages:

At any stage of proceedings the solicitor can also request an extension of aid for:

Solicitors may also request additional funding outside the stage model; the criteria applied to these requests are contained within the nature and extent of funding section.

Retrospective contributions

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).

Related links and information

Last updated 28 September 2020

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