Victoria Legal Aid Handbook for Lawyers

Applicant details – frequently asked questions

Disclosure of motor vehicles

The value of all motor vehicles owned by people to whom the means test applies should be disclosed.

Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) allows a net threshold amount up $11,280. Any equity below that is disregarded under the means test.

How are the values of the vehicles declared?

This depends on how many vehicles there are; the number of people in the household; and who owns the vehicles.

Where there is one vehicle in the household, its value is declared underneath 'Applicant' (if it's owned by the applicant), or 'FAP' (if it's owned by the financially associated person). If the vehicle is jointly owned, half the value is apportioned to each person.

If there are up to two vehicles in a household of two or more people, and the means test applies to the vehicles' owner(s), then their value is declared against the relevant owner(s).

If there are more than two vehicles in the household, the third (or more) vehicle is not exempted under the means test. The net value of such a vehicle must be declared in the 'other assets' column if it owned by a person to whom the means test applies.

If the applicant has no financially associated person, but owns more than one vehicle, then only one vehicle's value (up to the net threshold amount) is eligible for the exempted amount. The value of the second vehicle must be included in the 'other assets' column.

Disclosure of cash

'Cash' can mean:

  • any notes, coins or other readily negotiable currency
  • any money you have standing to your credit in any account with a bank, building society, or other financial institution.

In many instances, you will be required to provide proof of all bank accounts unless a waiver applies. Please refer to the 'Means certification' tab of the applicant's legal aid application form for further details.

Other assets

The financial disclosure provisions in ATLAS mean that the most common items people own are described either specifically in the assets table (eg. home, car), or in the financial disclosure provisions of the ‘Business’ section.

However, there will be items that do not neatly fit within those categories. They are ‘Other assets’. Their value should be declared, and would include items fsuch as:

  • expensive sporting equipment
  • collections of items having value (such as art, stamps, coins, jewellery etc)
  • stocks, shares and bonds
  • any other items of value that do not fall into the category below.

Items which are not included as ‘other assets’

Do not include these items in your calculations:

  • household furniture and effects that are reasonably necessary
  • clothing
  • interest in tools of trade, unless they are of exceptional value
  • caravan (unless you live in it).

See in the VLA Handbook for lawyers for a complete outline of the allowable asset deductions under VLA's means test.

Reviewed 24 January 2022