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Expert witnesses

Assessment criteria

For legal aid to be granted for an expert witness to give evidence to the court the following tests must be satisfied:

  • aid has been provided for the substantive matter, and
  • the expert witness called to give evidence will benefit the applicants case, and
  • the solicitor or counsel has certified that the expert witness is required, and
  • the court will recognise the expert witness as an expert in their field, and
  • the request meets the merits test.

Decision makers of a higher delegation

Requests for aid for an interstate expert witness will be referred to the Grants director for consideration.

Prior to granting aid for witness fees, the assessing officer must determine whether the grant of aid will exceed the cap as outlined in guideline 18.2 - limit costs. If the cap is going to be exceeded, the matter will be referred to a Grants manager for consideration.

Documentary requirements

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

Practitioners seeking an extension of aid for an expert witness to give evidence should electronically submit an extension for aid request via the Grants Online system indicating the number of hours they anticipate will be required and certifying that the expert witness is required, will be recognised by the court as an expert in their field, and that the expert witness will benefit the applicants case.

Interpretation

Travel costs for expert witnesses

When an expert witness has been engaged from an area other than the court location, the practitioner is required to investigate whether the expert witness is able to provide evidence to the court via telephone/video link-up.

If the expert witness is unable to provide evidence via telephone/video link up Legal Aid Queensland will pay reasonable travel expenses. Refer to extent of funding guidelines for travel.

Grant(s) of aid

Psychologists

  • The grant of aid for a psychologist to appear at court to give evidence is PY9.
  • The grant of aid for a psychologist's attendance at a conference of experts is PY12.
  • The grant of aid for a psychologist to answer written questions under the Family Law Rules is PY13.

Social workers

  • The grant of aid for a social worker to attend at court to give evidence is SW4.
  • The grant of aid for a social worker's attendance at a conference of experts is SW7.
  • The grant of aid for a social worker to answer written questions under the Family Law Rules is SW8.

Medical practitioners

The grant of aid for a medical practitioner to attend court to give evidence for the first hour is MD1. The grant of aid for subsequent hours is MD1A. However these grants of aid are limited to:

  • $537 for half a day in court including travel time and attendance at court. The grant of aid is MD2A.
  • $1053 for a full day in court including travel time and attendance at court. The grant of aid is MD2.

The grant of aid for a medical practitioner to qualify evidence, prepare for hearing or conference with counsel is MD3.

Medical specialist

The grant of aid for a medical specialist (including Psychiatrist) to attend at court (including giving evidence, qualifying evidence, preparing for hearing and conference with counsel) is MS1.

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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