Complexity in civil law matters

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    For legal aid to be granted for complexity in a civil law matter the following tests must be satisfied:

    • the applicant has been provided aid for the substantive matter, and
    • the applicant meets the merits test and
    • the practitioner has exhausted the substantive grant of aid provided, and
    • Legal Aid Queensland considers that one or more of the following factors are present:
      • it is a long defended matter
      • the case involves complex or novel legal issues eg test cases,
      • the case involves voluminous material, and
    • For war caused veterans matters only, Legal aid Queensland must consider one or more of the following factors are present:
      • it involved complicated psychological/medical issues involving numerous experts.
      • several conditions are being claimed and reports are required from three or more areas of medical expertise,
      • there is a complex link between Statements of Principles and the condition claimed, and
      • unresolved issues of law are involved.

    • For domestic violence matters only, Legal Aid Queensland must consider one or more of the following factors are present:
      • the matter has been ongoing for a lengthy period of time
      • the matter involves voluminous material due to:
        • subpoenas, 
        • multiple breaches of the order,
        • multiple amendments / variations of the order,
        • the amount of evidence provided to the court by the applicant or respondent (statements, audio material, photographs etc.)
      • an accredited interpreter has been engaged
      • the final hearing is listed for 2 or more days
      • the domestic violence application involves more than 3 parties (not including associates or child/ren of the aggrieved) and multiple cross applications
      • substantial amendment of the initial application for domestic violence order is required
      • the protection order was appealed and the matter is a re-hearing of the application for a protection order.

    Requests for aid to deem a civil law matter complex will be referred to a senior grants officer for consideration.


    Extension of aid requests received from preferred suppliers or in-house practitioners

    When seeking a grant of aid for complexity in a civil law matter the practitioner must lodge an extension of aid request through the Grants Online system along with:

    • a breakdown of the work completed to date including hours spent on file, and
    • details of the work still requiring completion and the hours required, and
    • details as to how the matter meets the assessment criteria as outlined above.


    In making a determination in relation to the above assessment criteria, Legal Aid Queensland may consult with external organisations such as the national office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

    Long defended matter

    Legal Aid Queensland may consider a long defended matter to be:

    • a matter that has previously involved lengthy litigation
    • a matter which involves associated legal proceedings in any other jurisdiction
    • a matter that has been ongoing for an extended period of time in its relevant jurisdiction which is unusual for the type of matter.
    • the matter hasn’t finalised despite a previously defended hearing.

    Complex or novel legal issues

    For consideration under this guideline, it is the responsibility of the legal practitioner to demonstrate to Legal Aid Queensland how the matter is complex and/or what novel legal issues are involved.

    Voluminous material

    For the purpose of this guideline Legal Aid Queensland may consider a matter to be voluminous when there is an excess of 1000 pages of relevant material, such as witness statements, exhibits including audio/video tapes, transcripts etc.

    Grant(s) of aid

    The grants of aid for complexity in civil law matters are:

    Matter type

     Clause code 

     War caused veteran


     Defence appeal (peacetime matters)


     Other civil matter in the magistrates court


     Other civil matter in the district court or QCAT


     Other civil matter in the Supreme/Federal Court   


     Other civil matter in the AAT


     Other civil matter in the High Court


    Review of decisions

    Requests to review a decision not to deem a civil law matter complex will be determined by a Grants manager. A request for a reconsideration must be made within 28 days of the date of receipt of the refusal to deem the matter complex. The decision by the Grants manager is final and conclusive. There is no appeal to the external review officer on these matters.

    Last updated 1 October 2018