Partial merits assessment for trial preparation made at Stage 3
For legal aid to be extended for representation at a final hearing the applicant must continue to meet the following tests:
Full merits assessment for trial preparation made at Stage 3
For legal aid to be extended for representation at a final hearing the applicant must meet the following tests:
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.
If a full merits assessment was made at Stage 3 or where aid has been granted for trial attendance and there is a change in circumstances such that an assessing officer determines that aid should be terminated within two weeks of the trial (i.e. financial eligibility), the matter will be referred to a Senior Grants Officer.
Extension requests from practitioners
Practitioners seeking a grant of legal assistance should electronically submit an extension of aid request via the Grants Online system.
If a partial merits assessment was made at Stage 3, practitioners should also attach the following when requesting an extension of aid:
- A copy of the final family report or other expert report (where a partial merits assessment was made at stage 3)
- Whether the final orders sought by the client and other party have changed in light of the final family report or other expert report
- An opinion in relation to the clients prospects of success in obtaining the final orders sought
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.
Prospects of success
In determining whether an applicant has prospects of success at a family law trial, the assessing officer will take the following into consideration:
- The current interim orders
- The final orders sought by the applicant
- The final orders sought by the other party/s
- The family report and any recommendations made by the report writer (if applicable)
- Any other expert reports obtained (if applicable)
- Whether the ICL has formed an opinion on what orders would be in the best interests of the child (if applicable)
- Any mitigating factors against the applicant's case and how the applicant plans to counter these
Grant(s) of aid
The grant of aid for day one of trial is:
- FM4A – day one of trial for solicitor and counsel, or
- FMS5 – day one of trial for solicitor advocate
Extension(s) of aid
The grant of aid for additional days of trial is:
- FM4B – additional days of trial for solicitor and counsel, or
- FMS7 – additional days of trial for solicitor advocate
Where counsel is replaced at trial and the grant of aid for trial attendance cannot be reused by new counsel the FMC3 grant will be issued.
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 FM4C grant of aid is available for each appearance.
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.
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).