Free legal help for war veterans

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    Disclaimer: This content is for general purposes only and not legal advice. If you have a legal problem, please contact us or speak to a lawyer. View our full disclaimer.

    How can Legal Aid Queensland help war veterans or war widows?

    Veterans or war widows who are claiming for war-caused disability benefits can get assistance with their cases from Legal Aid Queensland. Veterans or war widows can access free legal help to appeal decisions made about disability entitlements to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

    Am I eligible?

    To be eligible you need to show:

    • the veteran performed the relevant service in war times or other operations overseas and suffered a disability, disease or death as a result. (In the case of death, the veteran’s widow or dependants can appeal the decision.)
    • your unsuccessful war-caused disability/ death claim or pension assessment has been reviewed by the Veterans’ Review Board and you want to appeal that decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. If you’re unsure whether your circumstances meet the criteria, please contact us on 1300 65 11 88 and ask to speak to our veterans grants officer.

    Can I get aid for a lawyer to represent me at the Veterans’ Review Board hearing?

    Unfortunately, we are unable to fund legal representation for cases going before the Veterans’ Review Board hearing. We can only help once your case reaches the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

    Will I have to pass a means test?

    No. The means test does not apply to legal aid applications in veteran matters. You will not have to complete the financial section of your legal aid application.

    Will I have to pass a merit test?

    Yes. A merit test is applied to all legal aid matters. We look at the legal merits of your case and the likely outcome if the case goes to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. We consider whether your case is a public interest or ‘test’ case – whether other people would benefit in the future from your case going before a court or tribunal.

    Will I have to pay any money?

    Veterans or war widows who receive a grant of legal aid to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal will not have to pay any legal costs or refund any money at the end of the case.

    Who decides whether to grant legal aid?

    All veterans’ legal aid applications are assessed by our veterans grants officer in our Brisbane office.

    Who will represent me?

    Qualified lawyers from firms around Queensland provide services to clients who receive aid under the War Veteran’s Legal Aid Scheme. If your case proceeds to a court or tribunal hearing, we may also grant aid for a barrister to appear on your behalf. We only allow private law firms that are current preferred suppliers with Legal Aid Queensland to take on veterans cases.

    What will my lawyer do?

    Your lawyer will prepare your case, gather evidence including any medical or other expert reports, and represent you at the hearing.

    How do I apply for legal aid?

    You can get an application form by calling Legal Aid Queensland on 1300 65 11 88, by visiting one of our 14 offices around the state, or from our website.

    We suggest you ask a solicitor on our preferred supplier list to help you complete your application. For a list of firms in your area, call the veterans grants officer on 1300 65 11 88.

    Photos used in this brochure are courtesy of the Australian War Memorial:

    • Front cover photo - negative number P01706.012
    • Inside photos - negative number 029819
    • Back cover photo - negative number P02226_009 

    Last updated 6 July 2016