Vacating a plea in criminal law matters

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    For legal aid to be granted to vacate a plea in the Children's Court of Queensland, district court or Supreme Court the following tests must be satisfied:

    • aid has been provided for the substantive matter, and
    • the applicant meets the merits test.

    Requests for aid to vacate a plea will be referred to a senior grants officer for consideration.


    Extension of aid requests received from clients

    Clients seeking a grant of legal assistance to vacate their plea should write to Legal Aid Queensland with details outlining why they wish to vacate their plea and any supporting information which will substantiate their reasons to vacate their plea.

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

    Practitioners seeking an extension of aid to vacate a plea, should electronically submit an extension for aid request via the Grants Online system and advise how the matter meets the merits test and details why the applicant is vacating their plea.


    When a defendant has entered a plea of guilty to the court and prior to sentencing the defendant decides to withdraw their plea of guilty so that a not guilty plea can be entered, funding is not automatically granted.

    The defendant must meet the merits test in order to be represented in court to make an application to vacate their plea. Legal Aid Queensland will consider the reasons why the defendant is seeking to change their plea and any changes of circumstances that have occurred.

    Legal Aid Queensland may seek an opinion from the defendants current or previous solicitor and/or counsel as to whether the defendant would have any prospects of success in having their plea vacated based on their knowledge of the case.

    If funding is not approved for a defendant to vacate their plea, and the defendant is successful in having their plea vacated, Legal Aid Queensland will continue to fund the substantive matter.

    Grant(s) of aid

    The grant of aid that issues to vacate a plea in the district or childrens court of Queensland is CVP1.

    The grant of aid that issues to vacate a plea in the Supreme Court is CVP2.

    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).

    Last updated 17 March 2016