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Representation at court for property disputes

Assessment criteria

For legal aid to be granted for representation at court for a property dispute, the following tests must be satisfied:

  • the applicant meets the means test
  • the applicant meets guideline 12 – property
  • one of the following applies:
    • the other party has refused or failed to attend property arbitration organised by Legal Aid Queensland
    • the matter is not appropriate for a property arbitration
  • the applicant meets the merits test.

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 income and assets (refer to the means test)
  • details of the property pool
  • 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 the applicant is seeking an extension of aid, the applicant should contact their solicitor to lodge the request for further funding.

Applications/extension of aid request received from preferred supplier or in-house practitioner

Practitioners seeking a grant of legal assistance must electronically submit an extension of aid request or application for aid via the Grants Online system with the relevant information request.

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

Interpretation

Guideline 12 - Property

Refer to the interpretation of guideline 12 - property.

Grant(s) of aid

Initiate or respond to court proceedings

FM2A - initiate or respond to court proceedings.

The grant of aid to initiate or respond to court proceedings provides for up to three court attendances (which includes conciliation conferences). As an application for property settlement should not involve an application for interim orders, the FM2B and FM2C grants of aid are not available.

Extension(s) of aid

The following extensions may be available:

Up to trial directions

If the solicitor represents the client at three court attendances and trial directions are not issued by the third court attendance, the FM2D grant is available for each appearance until trial directions are issued.

Trial preparation

FM3A – prepare for trial (full merits assessment made). The grant of aid for trial preparation provides for up to two court attendances prior to trial commencement.

If the solicitor represents the client at two court attendances after trial directions are made and the trial does not commence by the third court attendance, the FM3C grant of aid is available for each appearance until the trial starts.

Trial attendance

Day one:

  • FM4A - day one of trial for solicitor and counsel, or
  • FMS5 - day one of trial for solicitor advocate

Additional days:

  • FM4B - additional days of trial for solicitor and counsel
  • FMS7 - additional days of trial for solicitor advocate

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

Retrospective contributions

Funding for property settlement disputes 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).

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