Lighthouse Project expansion and funding amendments

Additional recurrent funding was received by Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ) from the Commonwealth Government to respond to changes to court processes for family law matters under the Lighthouse Project expansion. LAQ has reviewed the Grants funding model in response to the case management changes in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA).

LAQ received feedback that the changes of court processes in FCFCOA have had an impact on practitioners which include:

  • Increased time spent in the initiating and responding to proceedings stage,
  • Increased appearances generally,
  • Court-based family dispute resolution conference (FDRC) convened for more than 5 hours.
  • Policy limitations restricting the attendance at more than one FDRC during litigation.

As a result, LAQ has made amendments to the Family Law funding model to provide additional hours to support practitioners to comply with court requirements. The changes include:

  • An increase in funding to the initial grant of aid to initiate or respond to proceedings for parties to recognise initial interim hearing requirements.
  • An increase in funding to the grants of aid available to Independent Children’s Lawyers (ICLs) in stage 2 to represent the interests of the child/ren up until trial directions noting initial interim hearing requirements and the earlier appointment of ICLs.
  • Where a further interim hearing (not an application in a proceeding) is listed, an additional grant of aid may be available for parties and ICLs to prepare for and attend at this further listed hearing.
  • Expanding the Court-based dispute resolution grant to provide for preparation, full day attendance where required, consent order fees and mention fee.
  • Removing the limitation of only one in-litigation FDRC per matter. 

Summary of Grants Amendments

Current Hours

New Hours

Court based Dispute Resolution

5 hours

9 hours

Represent a party to initiate or respond to proceedings until a substantive order is made

16 hours

20 hours

Independent Children’sLawyersforto represent the interests of the child/ren up until trial direction

15 hours

20 hours

Further subsequently listed interim hearing – Parties


6 hours

Further subsequently listed interim hearing – ICL


8 hours

New checklists and invoices outcomes will support these amendments.

These changes will apply to grants of aid issued on or after 18 March 2024. The Grants Handbook pages will be updated to reflect these changes.

For further information, please contact your Grants Team.