From 10 September 2019, for any family law proceedings where there are allegations of family violence, the court may determine there is a ban on personal cross-examination.
To get a lawyer through the scheme a notice of ban on personal cross-examination pursuant to s102NA of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) must be received by Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ) from the courts. Once the notice is received by LAQ, a Family Violence and Cross Examination Scheme (Scheme) application form will be forwarded to parties named on the notice inviting an application under the Scheme.
Once LAQ receives a completed application form:
- If the trial date is within 12 weeks, LAQ will confirm that funding is available within the scheme and where available allocate a lawyer.
- If the trial date is outside 12 weeks, or trial dates are not yet allocated, LAQ will register the application and notify the applicant party in writing that LAQ has received their application. The application will then be processed between 6-12 weeks out from the trial date.
- Where no funding is available within the scheme the applicant party will be notified in writing.
Funding provided under the scheme
The scheme will pay for a lawyer to prepare for and represent the client at a hearing where personal cross-examination has been banned. The scheme will also pay for standard disbursements, interpreter costs, the lawyer’s associated costs (travel, parking and accommodation), and a dispute resolution conference as they relate to the hearing where personal cross-examination has been banned. To provide appropriate legal services to the client the lawyer should prepare for the cross-examination as if the lawyer had carriage of the entire proceedings and include engaging with the other party and/or ICL, if appropriate.
However, the scheme will not pay for a solicitor to represent the client at other court events not directly related to the hearing at which cross examination has been banned. Additional costs, such as expert reports, subpoenas and witness costs, will also not be covered by scheme funding. Clients are responsible for producing evidence (and any costs associated with this) required for the purpose of the hearing. Funded preparation provides for assessing the material provided by the client.
Approved funding under the Scheme covers:
- Taking client instructions.
- Communicating and negotiating with the other party/ICL on matters subject of the hearing.
- a case outline
- a chronology of relevant events
- case information
- a schedule of factual issues in dispute
- affidavit material
- a brief to counsel
- for court attendance
- consent orders (if appropriate).
- material filed by the other party/ICL
- any family or medical reports
- inspecting documents at Court which have issued by way of subpoena
- filing and serving documents.
- at Day 1 on hearing
- at court for up to two (2) appearances outside the hearing days.
Requests for late stage dispute resolution, extra days of hearing and allowable disbursements can be submitted through Grants Online (authentication required).
For further information please refer to the information on the Legal Aid Queensland website regarding coverage provided through the Scheme.